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2014; 60(6):502-504


Adib Jatene, an immense legacy to Brazilian medicine

November 14, 2014, will be marked forever in the history

of Brazil as the day that the national medicine lost one

of its greatest references: cardiologist Adib Jatene.

Born in Xapuri, Acre, son of a Lebanese rubber tap-

per, he wrote one of the finest chapters in the history of

Brazilian medicine. With a medical degree from Univer-

sity of São Paulo’s Faculty of Medicine (FMUSP), awar-

ded in 1953, where he also became professor


, he

accumulated positions at Hospital do Coração (HCor)

and Instituto Dante Pazzanese, two national references

in cardiology.

Jatene was a pioneer of heart surgery in the country.

In addition to having created the first artificial lung-

-heart machine at Hospital das Clínicas, in the 1950s,

he was responsible for the first bypass surgery in Bra-

zil in 1968. His contributions in favor of techniques

for the development of cardiology put his name among

the most respected cardiac surgeons in the world. One

of the procedures developed by him to correct trans-

posed arteries in neonates became known worldwide

as “Jatene’s surgery”, adding up to an impressive his-

tory of more than 20,000 operations and nearly 700

scientific papers published in the national and inter-

national literature as author or co-author. One of them,

related to the intracavitary correction technique and

published in

The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular


, reached, in the medical literature only, over

400 citations.



Even without joining any political party, Jatene took

part on several occasions in the national political sce-

ne. He was state secretary of health in São Paulo,

between 1979 and 1982, and twice minister of health

in the administrations of Fernando Collor, for eight

months, and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from 1995

to 1996. It was in this last administration that he crea-

ted the Provisional Contribution on Financial Tran-

sactions (CPMF), a tax intended solely to fund the na-

tional health sector. Ministry of Health officials

remember one of his favorite habits in those days: en-

ter the cafeteria queue or have breakfast with servers,

seeking to gather opinions on our health system. Un-

motivated, he left the ministry when he realized that

the government started to divert health budget funds

collected through the tax he envisioned.

Last year, he returned to the government to chair a

committee of experts to create a project aiming at chan-

ges in medical education. He walked away again after the

Dilma Roussef administration launched, without any

prior discussion, the More Doctors program. His main

concerns in terms of national public health were proper

medical education, health financing and the Family Health

program, which was highlighted in a recent article pub-

lished in

Folha de S.Paulo

newspaper: “Physicians must be

experts in people,” he wrote.


Journal of the Brazilian Medical Association (Ramb)

honors Professor Adib Jatene in recognition of his exam-

ple as physician and public figure, his dedication to me-

dicine, and unwavering integrity throughout his life. We

are certain that this legacy will remain, inspiring profes-

sionals to defend medicine with honor, ethics and dig-

nity, as he never gave up doing.



“The Brazilian Medical Association mourns the passing

of Prof. Dr. Adib Domingos Jatene, who worked hard for

the sake of medicine and health. Medical science loses

one of its icons, who has inspired generations. May the

pain of loss be comforted by the important legacy he left

as a doctor, teacher, researcher and citizen.”

Florentino Cardoso

, president of the Brazilian Medical


“Permanent reason for inspiration for all those around him,

Jatene managed to bring together the most absolute accu-

racy inmedical procedures and a humane treatment, always

maintaining a close relationship with each one of his pa-

tients. His ethical and fair stance was, and will be, a beacon

shedding light on all medicine. I owe much of my career to

him, who always had a friendly and encouraging word to

offer. Working for years with him in the operating roomand

ICUwas a lesson I will never forget. To be the director of the

Faculty of Medicine at University of São Paulo, where Jate-

ne received his medical degree, and to be in the position he

held with both talent and dedication, fills me with pride and

responsibility. I must alsomention his career as an agent of

public life, and key figure in the implementation of the Uni-

fied Health System, benefiting millions of patients. Brazil

loses one of its most brilliant public figures.”

José Otavio Costa Auler Junior

, director of the Univer-

sity of São Paulo’s Faculty of Medicine.