Enrique Finochietto

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Dr. Enrique Finochietto

Enrique Finochietto (March 13, 1881 February 17, 1948) was a distinguished Argentine academic, physician and inventor.


Life and work

Enrique Finochietto was born in 1881 in Buenos Aires to Ana and Tomás Finochietto. His father died during his early childhood, and he was raised mostly by his mother. He excelled in industrial design while in secondary school, and enrolled at the University of Buenos Aires in 1897. [1]

Buenos Aires Place in Argentina

Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the South American continent's southeastern coast. "Buenos Aires" can be translated as "fair winds”, but the former was the meaning intended by the founders in the 16th century, by the use of the original name "Real de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre". The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas, with a population of around 15.6 million.

Industrial design use of art and science to improve the aesthetics and usability of a product

Industrial design is a process of design applied to products that are to be manufactured through techniques of mass production. Its key characteristic is that design is separated from manufacture: the creative act of determining and defining a product's form and features takes place in advance of the physical act of making a product, which consists purely of repeated, often automated, replication. This distinguishes industrial design from craft-based design, where the form of the product is determined by the product's creator at the time of its creation.

University of Buenos Aires university in Argentina

The University of Buenos Aires is a public research university in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Established in 1821, it is the premier institution of higher learning in the country and one of the most prestigious universities in the region. It has educated 15 Argentine presidents, produced four of the country's five Nobel Prize laureates, and is responsible for approximately 40% of the country's research output. According to the QS World University Rankings (2019), the UBA places number 73 globally, making it the highest ranked university in Latin America and the top Spanish language university in the world.

Finochietto interned at the university's Clinical Hospital, becoming an assistant to a noted surgeon, Dr. Alejandro Posadas. His thesis, El Pie-Bot Varus-Equino-Congénito, earned him a medical degree with honors, in 1904. [2] He entered the Clinic of Skin and Venereal Diseases, a dependency of Buenos Aires' important Rawson Hospital, as a surgical intern. [1]

Alejandro Posadas

Alejandro Posadas was an Argentinian physician and surgeon specializing in pediatric surgery. He was the first person to film an operation and brought the first x-ray to the country of Argentina.

Doctor of Medicine is a medical degree, the meaning of which varies between different jurisdictions. In the United States, Canada and some other countries, the MD denotes a professional graduate degree awarded upon graduation from medical school. In the United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries, the MD is a research doctorate, higher doctorate, honorary doctorate or applied clinical degree restricted to those who already hold a professional degree in medicine; in those countries, the equivalent professional degree is typically titled Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).

Finochietto studied nose and throat, gynecological and orthopedic surgical practices in numerous western European hospitals from 1906 to 1909 and, on his return, he was appointed chief of a surgical division at Rawson Hospital where he lived in order to be on hand for emergencies. He returned to Europe in 1918, working during World War I in the Argentine Hospital for the Wounded in Passy, near Paris. For these efforts, he received the Legion of Honor and the Red Cross Medal, in 1919. Finochietto then traveled to the United States to observe surgical practices at the Mayo Clinic and other prominent hospitals, before returning to Argentina. [1]

Orthopedic surgery medical specialty concerned with the human apparatus of movement

Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics, also spelled orthopaedics, is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors, and congenital disorders.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Passy former commune in Seine, France

Passy is an area of Paris, France, located in the 16th arrondissement, on the Right Bank. It is home to many of the city's wealthiest residents.

The surgeon returned to Buenos Aires, where he was named the chief of the surgical division at Rawson Hospital, then undergoing an extensive enlargement and modernization. Finochietto planned the new surgical pavilion (Pavilion IX), where he worked alongside his brothers, Drs. Miguel Ángel and Ricardo Finochietto. Pavilion IX included numerous innovations of his design such as an outpatient department with separate dressing and examining rooms, separate sterile dressing packages, a narrower stretcher (that could maneuver through the halls more easily), separate departments of orthopedic surgery, endoscopy and pathology (among others), and laboratories and radiology departments in the hospital itself. He also eliminated the unwieldy book form of medical records that had existed previously, and instead created separate envelopes for patients. [1]

Endoscopy medical procedure

An endoscopy is used in medicine to look inside the body. The endoscopy procedure uses an endoscope to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Unlike many other medical imaging techniques, endoscopes are inserted directly into the organ.

Pathology study and diagnosis of disease

Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of "general pathology," an area which includes a number of distinct but inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, and body fluid samples. Idiomatically, "a pathology" may also refer to the predicted or actual progression of particular diseases, and the affix path is sometimes used to indicate a state of disease in cases of both physical ailment and psychological conditions. A physician practicing pathology is called a pathologist.

Radiology specialty that uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases seen within the body

Radiology is the medical specialty that uses medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases within the human body.

Dr. Finochietto not only changed the way surgical pavilions were organized and operated, he also invented many surgical instruments, having sixty-seven inventions to his credit. These included an electric surgical table which allowed a patient to be moved to any position, a special orthopedic table, a thoracic rib spreader (1936), the surgical vacuum, the "Finochietto scissors," and a bench that allowed surgeons to operate while seated. Establishing the Surgical Graduate School of Buenos Aires, he also changed how surgery was taught and performed in Argentina. Finochietto insisted on giving students more practical experience in surgery and included instruction on proper, professional demeanor throughout a surgical procedure. [3]

A rib spreader, also known as Finochietto retractor, is a type of retractor specifically designed to separate ribs in thoracic surgery. Rack-and-pinion-type stainless steel rib spreaders were an innovation introduced by French surgeon Theodore Truffier in 1914. This was modified in 1936 by Argentinian surgeon Enrique Finochietto to have fenestrated blades and a hand-cranked lever to both separate the arms in a staged fashion and lock them in place at each stop. The Burford-Finochietto rib speader has replaceable blades. The Truffier and especially the Burford-Finochietto are ubiquitous in open thoracic surgery. Recently, a new intelligent, automated rib spreader in development demonstrated results superior to the Finochietto-style retractors.

He also taught as a Clinical Professor of Surgery at the University of Buenos Aires, and became the president of the Buenos Aires Surgical Society in 1922. He developed new surgical techniques in 1924 for the treatment of the stomach, duodenum, and small intestine. Dr. Finochietto in 1929 performed the first intervention on a cardiac lesion in Argentina, successfully repairing a bullet wound to the heart of a minor. [1]

Stomach digestive organ

The stomach is a muscular, hollow organ in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and many other animals, including several invertebrates. The stomach has a dilated structure and functions as a vital digestive organ. In the digestive system the stomach is involved in the second phase of digestion, following mastication (chewing). It performs a chemical breakdown due to enzymes and hydrochloric acid.

Duodenum first section of the small intestine

The duodenum is the first section of the small intestine in most higher vertebrates, including mammals, reptiles, and birds. In fish, the divisions of the small intestine are not as clear, and the terms anterior intestine or proximal intestine may be used instead of duodenum. In mammals the duodenum may be the principal site for iron absorption.

Small intestine part of the digestive tract, following the stomach and followed by the large intestine

The small intestine or small bowel is an organ in the gastrointestinal tract where most of the end absorption of nutrients and minerals from food takes place. It lies between the stomach and large intestine, and receives bile and pancreatic juice through the pancreatic duct to aid in digestion.

Dr. Finochietto was also an avid fan of the Tango, and he counted legendary crooner Carlos Gardel among his close friends. One of the best-known composers in the genre, Julio de Caro, composed Buen amigo (Good Friend) in his honor, in 1925. A noted academic, he published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and began work on a sixteen-volume surgical guide with his brother, Ricardo. Finochietto, who had contracted syphilis during his travels abroad, suffered from worsening health, and he accepted retirement from the university in 1933 as professor emeritus. The ailing surgeon extracted a hydatid cyst from a child in 1940 - his last surgical intervention. His condition forced him to abandon his practice and he continued writing until his death on February 17, 1948, at age 66. [1]


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