AUBMC celebrates naming of Ras Beirut Street after AUB doctor who performed first open-heart surgery in region
An Ain Mreisseh street in Ras Beirut has been named after AUB Professor Emeritus Ibrahim Dagher, who had performed the first open-heart surgery in the region in 1958.
The AUB Faculty of Medicine and the Medical Center celebrated the street dedication on May 30 during a ceremony which took place at the Rafic Hariri School of Nursing.
Attending the ceremony were a number of Lebanese dignitaries including Minister of the Displaced Raymond Audi, representing Lebanese President HE Michel Suleiman, the Mayor of Beirut Abdulmun’im Ariss, and MP Muhammad Idriss representing MP Walid Jumblatt, in addition to a number of AUBMC senior administrators, physicians as well as family and friends of Dr. Dagher.
Professor Emeritus Ibrahim Dagher graduated with an MD from AUB in 1951. Of his many achievements in the field of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, Dagher is most well-known for performing the first open-heart surgery in the region in 1958 and the first total cardiopulmonary bypass in Lebanon 1960.
In order to perform the first total cardiopulmonary bypass, Dagher worked with technicians in the medical machine shop to build an extracorporeal cardiac pump from scratch. This was used without causing any medical complications, until it was replaced with a newly purchased heart-lung machine.
In recognition of his valuable contributions to the practice and study of medicine, Ibrahim Dagher, who retired in 1996 and was granted a Merit Award in 1999, was awarded the Lebanese Order of the Cedars, Commander Rank, in 2004.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and the Raja N. Khuri Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Nadim Cortas opened the ceremony by thanking Lebanon’s President HE Michel Suleiman, the Lebanese Minister of Health Muhammad Jawad Khalife, and the Head of the Beirut Municipality Abdulmun’im Ariss for naming this street after Dr. Dagher.
After recounting the numerous medical breakthroughs of Dr. Dagher as well as praising his unique motivational teaching style, Cortas said “so let the street be named Ibrahim Dagher St., the road to success, the passage to progress, and the path toward excellence.” He added that the street was named “to recognize the road you paved for those who will follow you in their quest for success.”
Also, Dr. George Salem, a close friend of Dr. Dagher, spoke at the ceremony and described Dr. Dagher as a hero who has fought the battle of maintaining people’s health and lives. “Dr. Dagher is not only a surgeon, he is a teacher…and Sir Henry Adams said: Fine teachers attain a kind of immortality because it is impossible to know when, or if, their influence stops.”
Like Cortas, Mr. Ariss recounted the numerous accomplishments of Dr. Dagher which made him worthy of this an honorific gesture. “I hope this occasion acts as motivation for other Lebanese doctors to follow Dr. Dagher’s suit in medical excellence for the sake of humans and humanity,” said Ariss.
As for Minister Audi, he said: “Dr. Dagher has accomplished a unique thing and he has become the national pride of Lebanon and recognized worldwide.”
Dr. Dagher thanked all those involved in naming the street after him. “I really feel speechless; no words can describe how grateful I am… but I am especially grateful to the American University of Beirut Medical Center which always provided me with the means and the resources to fulfill my accomplishments. Of course special thanks go to the ‘unknown soldiers’ who staffed my medical teams,” said Dr. Dagher.
At the end of the ceremony, Cortas awarded Dr. Dagher a shield of appreciation in recognition for his lifelong achievements.
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