DR. THOMAS FOGARTY
Dr. Thomas Fogarty has always followed his passions in life. His innate desire to help people led him to a career in medicine and later on, teaching surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.
Avid interests in model building and tinkering eventually joined forces with his surgical expertise, inspiring him to create one of the most innovative advances in modern biomedical engineering.
Patented in 1969, the Fogarty embolectomy catheter not only revolutionized vascular surgery, it revolutionized medicine.
In addition to being the first balloon catheter to be used therapeutically, it also represented the first "less-invasive" medical technology, causing far less trauma to patients than previous surgical methods. It is no surprise, therefore, that Dr. Fogarty would approach his interests in viticulture and enology with a great degree of passion.
Dr. Fogarty was first introduced to the industry in 1969 when he began teaching surgery at the Stanford University Medical Center. Intrigued by the creativity of winemaking, he would often help a Stanford colleague, who operated a small winery, with vineyard and cellar practices. His interest blossomed and he later purchased acreage in the Santa Cruz Mountains that eventually became part of what is now the Thomas Fogarty Winery and Vineyards. He built a small cellar on the property and began making wine with grapes purchased from nearby growers. He planted his first vines in 1978 and established a commercial winery in 1981. The estate now consists of 325 acres, 25 of which are under vine.
When it came time to hire a full-fledged winemaker, Dr. Fogarty wanted someone with a deep understanding of both grape growing and winemaking. "Michael Martella was not only well versed in viticulture," says Dr. Fogarty, "but also in the production of ultrapremium wines in a style I had envisioned." Dr. Fogarty's interest in wine transcends its function as an enjoyable adult beverage. "Moderate wine consumption addresses the preventative aspects of good health," he says.
As for biochemical affirmation, Dr. Fogarty explains the nitric oxide extracted from the skins of red grapes proves to be the active ingredient that decreases the level of cholesterol and bad lipids, and increases the level of good lipids. Elements from grapeskin extract also relax the blood vessels, decrease the tendency for blood to clot, and create a blood pressure lowering effect. "Wine, by all scientific research criteria, should not be viewed so much as an alcoholic beverage, but more as a health food," he says.
Dr. Fogarty continues as professor of surgery at Stanford University, where he performs both cardiac and peripheral vascular surgery. In addition to the "industry standard" Fogarty balloon embolectomy catheter, he has acquired over 63 surgical instrumentation patents over the past 40 years including an entire line of vascular clips and clamps. He is also president of Fogarty Engineering, the laboratory from which many of his start-up products originate. "My engineering group is committed to designing medical products," says Dr. Fogarty, "primarily vascular, but not exclusively." Dr. Fogarty is a past recipient of the "Inventor of the Year" award bestowed by the San Francisco Patent and Trademark Association (1980), and also of the Lemeslon-MIT Prize (2000), the largest cash prize in the world for invention and innovation.
He is co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Endovascular Therapy and serves on the editorial boards of several other contemporary surgical publications. He has contributed chapters to numerous surgical textbooks and authored over 170 scientific articles in the fields of cardiac, vascular and general surgery. He has also received numerous grants from the American Heart Association and the National Institute of Health.