León Herszage, great Argentine surgeon, has died

León HerszageLeón Herszage, Master of all Argentine Abdominal Wall Surgeons and one of the most eminent personalities of 20th-century surgery, died Jan. 11 in Buenos Aires, where he resided.

I had the privilege of attending one of his lectures in Bilbao, in the Basque Country where I was then residing, in 2011. The occasion was theXI Congreso Nacional de Cirugía de la Pared Abdominal sponsored by the Asociación Española de Cirujanos. I was fascinated by his enthusiasm, despite his advanced age, in recounting the story of his professional life. His cultural achievements, discoveries, even his mistakes, and the devotion he still put into his work then. Unfortunately, on that occasion I was not fortunate enough to meet him personally.

I had, however, later experienced his courtesy and helpfulness. I wanted to buy his texts on Wall Surgery, and since we were part of the same Scientific Society, the SoHAH (Sociedad Hispanoamericana de Hernia, which published these days this nice memory of him) I took the courage in two hands and sent him an email, asking him where I could find them.

He replied back to me in short order, with that ancient courtesy that we have forgotten and that today is found only in habla española countries. He told me that it would be his pleasure to give them to me as a gift, if I had a chance to stop by his consulting room in Buenos Aires.

I had hoped to do so; unfortunately, I could not.

With León Herszage we lose not only a great Colleague, but a fundamental scientific reference of our profession. With him disappears one of the greatest exponents of that cultural aristocracy that was once (now no longer, evidently because of us...) in Europe, and continues to be in many Spanish-speaking countries today, medical thought.

May he rest in peace.