2000 Lemelson-MIT Prize Winner
|Photo by Paul Andrew Michaels
Vascular surgery pioneer Dr. Thomas Fogarty is a man of many interests
and talentssurgeon, teacher, entrepreneur, avid fisherman
and, even, vintner. But the passion that stirs Fogarty most is his
love of inventing. Fogarty, who is best known for his Fogarty®
Embolectomy Balloon Catheterthe world's first of its kindwas
named the 2000 winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize.
A native of Cincinnati, OH, Fogarty says he's always had a natural
inclination to tinkerto look at how he could solve the problems
around him. Says Fogarty, "I've achieved the things I've done
by asking one question: 'Can it be done better?'" He built
and sold his first invention when he was just a boy. Unhappy with
the way the gears on his scooter were working, Fogarty tinkered
in the parts shop of his local Cushman motor scooter dealer to develop
a new centrifugal clutch, which is still widely used today in a
variety of small motor applications.
Fogarty holds more than 63 US patents for medical devices, with
additional patents pending. His landmark invention, the Fogarty®
Embolectomy Balloon Catheter (patented in 1963), revolutionized
surgical embolectomy procedures by enabling doctors to remove blood
clots in patients' extremities without employing major surgery.
This technique transformed a long, highly invasive operation requiring
multiple incisions and a lengthy hospital stay into a one-hour procedure
done with a single incision under local anesthesia.
Other Fogarty inventions include the Medtronic/AneuRx Endovascular
Aortic Stent-Graft, a device that enables minimally-invasive treatment
of patients with life threatening aneurysms; Fogarty® Surgical
Clips and Clamps, which enable vascular surgeons to temporarily
occlude vessels during surgery; and the Hancock tissue Heart Valve,
the world's first porcine valve, which Fogarty invented with Warren
Fogarty, Stanford University professor of surgery, lives in Portola
Valley, CA. He has founded or co-founded over 30 start-up companies
that manufacture medical devices, and also co-founded Three Arch
Partners, a venture capital firm. Fogarty received his B.S. from
Xavier University (1956) and his M.D. from the University of Cincinnati
(1965), plus an Honorary Doctorate from Xavier University (1987).
In 2000 Fogarty used his Lemelson-MIT Prize money to start The Fogarty
Medical Foundation to reward clinicians developing innovative medical
procedures and devices.
The author of more than 170 scientific and medical articles, Fogarty
provides an exceptional role model to the next generation of physician