A doctor, a leader, a brilliant founder, a researcher, an international professor, he is rather a school of a distinguished heritage of expertise and superior efficiency in administration, with a very special diplomatic behavior, wise, enduring and patient, he maintains a clear vision of what he wants to accomplish and achieve, his fame has surpassed his small town and become a global symbol: Professor Doctor Fawzi Georgy Estefanos, the founder of the Department of Anesthesia at Cleveland Clinic, who departed from our world few days ago, after a life journey full of international and Egyptian achievements.
Fawzi Estefanos was born in Sohag in 1937, a seventh son among eight. Before he was nine, he began to shoulder responsibility as two of his brothers traveled to Cairo seeking study; he used to take his mother to collect the rent of the lands owned by the family. He worked on his studies until he obtained his high school certificate from Fouad Secondary School in Sohag, obtaining high degrees which qualified him to join the Faculty of Medicine at Ain Shams University, and he graduated in 1960. He worked as an anesthesiologist until 1967, then departed to England to work at Newcastle Hospitals in his specialty. In 1970, he obtained a fellowship degree in anesthesia from the Royal College of Surgeons in Britain, he then decided to travel to the United States of America to work at Cleveland Clinic Hospital in the same year.
At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Fawzi has set out on a global journey of success. Since taking office, he has worked hard to establish the Department of Anesthesia, which became one of the greatest departments of anesthesia in the United States of America. Moreover, he is recognized for establishing the first cardiac and thoracic anesthesia department in the world. He headed this department before becoming the head of the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine until his retirement.
He has been recognized by international surgeons as the founder of the world’s first department of cardiac anesthesia, at Cleveland Clinic, as well as one of the founders of Cardiac Anesthesia, and of the International Society of Cardiac Anesthesia, of which he headed and served in for a decade. Yet, despite all these great responsibilities, he has never ceased to offer his knowledge to all; he published many books that are categorized among the most important scientific references, along with hundreds of scientific researches, and much participation in scientific conferences. He was a member and the representative of the Board of Directors of Cleveland Clinic Hospital, and a member of the Board of Directors of Dar Al Fouad Hospital in Cairo.
As for the social life of Dr. Fawzi, he was married to Mrs. Samiha, and they had two children: Dr. Mark, ophthalmologist, and Mr. John, a lawyer and businessman; he was a great father. He was known for simplicity, modesty, intense love for all, insightful vision, love of work, belief in teamwork and the ability of the team to fulfill achievements. He was also known for continuous striving to develop and renew the work style using his rare leadership skills. He had a distinguished presence and commitment to his work and huge responsibilities, as well as a distinguished ability in managing conversations and persuasion. Dr. Fawzi Estefanos supported many universities, medical schools, and hospitals as an active professor and consultant. He was a guide and friend to several generations of young doctors in their careers. He was a generous giving man, offering help and service to whoever asked, and to whomever he saw in need of help, so you find him spending long times in the church talking to everyone. Also, you can hardly see him walking alone in the hospital corridors, but he used to be surrounded by doctors asking and consulting him. He had also left a great impact on his patients, their families and society in general. His intense love and care for all, besides his belief that every human being should be treated with respect and appreciation, all were a natural matter that flowed with his heartbeat, and made him an extraordinary person.
In an article written by Mr. Gamal Al-Ghitani, he wrote about Dr. Fawzi Estefanos: “Although nearly four decades or more have passed since his residence in America, his deep emotional attachment to Egypt seemed to be deep and renewed”. Yes, Egypt has always been cherished in the heart of Dr. Fawzi Estefanos, as he made several contributions in medical conferences, and gave lectures at Egyptian universities in order to raise medical education in Egypt, he also played a great role in securing opportunities for scientifically distinguished Egyptian doctors for training and education at Cleveland Clinic Hospital, through his endeavor to make scientific exchange agreements that began In 1975 between Cleveland and a number of Egyptian universities; Hundreds of physicians were accepted into the departments of anesthesia, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery and urology.
We shall not neglect his interest in the history of Egypt and Coptic history, which drove him to establish St. Mark’s Foundation for the Dissemination of the Coptic Heritage, which has published a number of important history books, including: The History of the Coptic nation, The History of Coptic Literature, and The Life of St. Mark. In addition, he supported the Publishing Center of the American University in order to be able to publish some important books, and to organize many international conferences. He also had an important role in establishing the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center, and was one of the prominent members of the center’s Board of Trustees.
A life journey based on the love of God with all heart, and the love of humanity, the homeland and the church, so he became a pure Egyptian icon in the world. May the soul of Dr. Fawzi Estefanos rest in peace, may God send heaven’s condolences to his family, students and lovers and may God reward him for all the works he did for the glory of His name! And … stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
25 August 2021