The previous article highlighted the life of Professor Doctor Fawzi Estefanos; the physician, researcher, the brilliant leader and the global icon who has made great contributions to medicine and anesthesia, especially cardio-thoracic anesthesia, he was able to establish the world’s first department of cardiac anesthesia at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital, and he is one of the founders of cardiac anesthesia and the International Society of Cardiac Anesthesia; the article also tackled some aspects of his outstanding genius character in leadership, his abundant love for everyone, providing advice and guidance for young doctors, his concern and care for his patients, as well as his response to all who resorted to him for advice in general.
I received a post from a friend who has maintained a close acquaintance with Dr. Fawzi Estefanos, followed by a phone call, in which we indulged in talking about this giant, I remember the following: Dr. Fawzi was a member of the Cleveland Clinic’s board of directors, and later its chairman; After the departure of the then chairman of the board of directors, the hospital board members unanimously chose Dr. Fawzi as Chairman of the Board of Directors, due to the presence of many problems that require an administratively distinguished character, only found in our late Egyptian giant. Prof. Dr. Fawzi held that position until all problems were resolved and affairs were settled. Among the good administrative works of Dr. Fawzi, he held elections to appoint a new chairman of the board of directors, but was not nominated himself, he rather backed the nomination of the closest among his friends, with whom he kept great love: Dr. Lube, one of the world’s most famous heart surgeons at the time; his success was the result of the elections. Upon the retirement of Dr. Lube and finishing his service, he- along with Dr. Fawzi, supported Prof. Dr. Jazz Grove to take up the position, and indeed he was chosen as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Grove- deeply impacted- was keen to attend the funeral prayer of Dr. Fawzi.
Dr. Fawzi was very influential in decision making; due to his wisdom, logical thinking and ability to understand things and solve problems. In addition to these exceptional talents, he had the ability to attract others to success, that he was given the title “Star Maker” in Cleveland Clinic; he excelled in discovering talents, uncovering the subtle capabilities unnoticed by a passing non-examiner eye, and leading those talents along the path to professional and humanitarian success. These talents include: Prof. Dr. Nagy Mikhail, Prof. Dr. Wael Barsoum, Prof. Dr. Wageeh Ghabrial, and many others throughout the generations.
Our late, venerable icon has left an influence inside every person who dealt with him, administratively or humanely. He is the one who founded a world-famous medical school in Cleveland, bearing the slogan: “Patients First”, aiming to take care of the patient, communicate with him to discuss his health condition and follow up step by step, with a very special concern and maintaining privacy for everyone! This made his hospital occupy the first place in “Heart and Bladder Diseases” along two decades, and a haven for many heart patients from around the world (an article mentioned: 133 countries!).
Fawzi Estefanos also paid great attention to history until it became one of his first priorities. His interest in history was not limited to founding “Saint Mark’s Foundation for Coptic History Studies”, asserting its great role in collecting, publishing and documenting the Coptic heritage, but moreover showed interest in human history. It was reported that when his friend Dr. Lube passed away, his children decided to sell his possessions in an auction, Dr. Fawzi went to the auction, and bought a very large number of the possessions, in order to preserve the history of Dr. Lube, intending to prepare and date them, then sending them as a gift it to Cleveland Clinic, nonetheless, he departed from this world.
Despite that life full of international achievements, Dr. Fawzi Estefanos was of great modesty, as he always called himself: Mr. Nobody! In an attempt to escape from the dignity chasing him wherever he went and after every work he performed. I remember attending a ceremony honoring him, and I saw the ceremony was crowded with a large number of rich people, including Sam Miller, one of the wealthiest Americans supporting the great humanitarian achievements made by Dr. Fawzi and the distinguished staff at the hospital.
The words of our late Egyptian star are engraved in our memory, he often repeated: Man shall have thick skin; when he sets his eyes on a goal desired to be achieved, this skin shall present him with protection and ability to overcome abuse and criticism by others in order to achieve what he yearns for.
The life of Dr. Fawzi Estefanos is rich and profound, both professionally and humanly, a life filled with God’s love, which was reflected in the love of others and great deeds for all of humanity. And … Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center
1 September 2021