In 1971 Dr. Favaloro had a well deserved, lucrative, and distinguished career that lay before him in the United States. Yet, as it had throughout his entire life, his drive to serve the people of Argentina called him home.
After turning down offers from prestigious institutions in the US, Favaloro returned to Argentina, and in 1975 he founded the Fundación Favaloro, with the ambition of making it an important center for treatment, education, and research (in the style of the Cleveland Clinic). Central to the ethos of this organization was a commitment to the admittance of a number of beds for the poor. This meant that hundreds of patients were treated completely free of charge.
For the next 20 years, Favaloro and the institute created “a reality of outstanding achievement and a source of pride” while training the next generation of top-class South American surgeons. Sadly, on July 29, 2000, Dr. Rene Favaloro tired of “being a beggar in his own country” and disgusted with the corruption that pervaded Argentina’s medical system, took his own life. The bullet that killed this man, whose innovations saved the hearts of countless others, was a final ironic gesture aimed at his own heart.
Favaloro will be remembered not merely as a great innovator and pioneer in the
field of cardiothoracic surgery but far more importantly “as a man with a love
for his country, a passion for work and ethics, and a strong sense of social