Thomas J. Fogarty is a surgeon and inventor of surgical and medical devices, and the founder of the Fogarty Institute for Innovation. He is best known for his invention of the embolectomy catheter, or balloon catheter. Fogarty’s embolectomy catheter and his inventions that followed it have influentially shaped the contemporary development of minimally invasive surgical practices. For his contributions to health and science, Fogarty has been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Lemelson-MIT prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), as well as the Icons in Surgery award from the American College of Surgeons. This interview details Dr. Fogarty’s personal life and upbringing, including his short time as a boxer, and his early experiments and successes in innovation and invention. Throughout the interview, Dr. Fogarty also discusses his introduction to the medical field and his conception of the embolectomy catheter, his medical training, his internship and residency at the University of Oregon Medical School, remembrances of mentors and colleagues, and his attitudes towards science, industry, and entrepreneurship.
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