Doctor Francis Robicsek, born Ferenc Robicsek in Hungary in 1925, developed techniques and tools — which are now the standards when it comes to open-heart surgery — in his very own garage.
Robicsek worked as a medic between 1945 and 1950 before receiving his degree at Péter Pázmány University in 1950. He started working as a surgeon after that. He played an instrumental role in starting heart surgeries in Hungary. He moved to Charlotte in 1956, where the Carolinas Heart Institute — now called Carolinas Medical Centre — was built under his management. He was the Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.
He specialises in thoracic and cardiac surgery. Thoracic surgeons treat diseases of chest organs, mainly the lungs, while cardiac surgeons focus on the heart and deal with heart transplants, heart valve blockages and the like. Dr Robicsek was one of the surgeons who performed the first heart valve replacement surgery in Hungary in 1954; their work made their patients sing legends about them.
Dr Robicsek credits his never-ending curiosity and restlessness, as well as being at the right place at the right time, for his success and for Hungary’s world fame in the field of cardiac surgery.
In 1965, Dr Robicsek developed the Robicsek procedure or Robicsek technique, which is a procedure to help people suffering from pectus excavatum, also known as a dented chest. His technique is tailored to each individual suffering from the deformity, requires only one surgery, and is less invasive than the Ravitch technique. The next year, he co-founded the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, which continues to be one of the leading institutes providing heart care even today.
According to Bernie Dunlap, an American scholar, he pioneered open-heart surgery “tinkering away in his garage behind his house, [inventing] many of the devices now standard parts of those procedures.”
In 2017, Dr Francis Robicsek received the Surgical Humanitarianism Award for his over 50 years of work in medical care. He began his humanitarian work in the ’60s by providing medical care in less fortunate countries as well as performing surgeries. “Dr Robicsek performed the first open-heart operations in Honduras and Guatemala and initiated and assisted the first open-heart surgery by a native surgeon in Belize,” writes facs.org. Not only are his direct medical skills valuable, his effort to bring medical training and supplies to underserved regions probably saved thousands of lives.
He also trained Central American doctors in Charlotte so they could go back to their country and provide proper care there, too.
Source: Daily News Hungary