Professor Iradj Fazel (ایرج فاضل) born 24 April 1939 in Ardestan, Isfahan is a prominent surgeon from Iran. Fazel studied Medicine at University of Tehran where he graduated in 1964. Then he continued towards surgery and then organ transplantation in the US.
Fazel is a full professor at Shahid Beheshti Medical University of Tehran, a former minister of health and medical education of Iran and the president of the Iranian Society of Surgeons. He is a senior member of the American Board of Surgery. He is one of the founders of Iranian Association of Surgeons and currently its president. He is also the chairman of Iranian Society for Organ Transplantation. He was the founder of Iranian Academy of Medical Sciences and has served as its president for 20 years.
During war between Iran and Iraq he made an outstanding record of services in care of war casualties. He also served as the minister of Higher Education in 1985 and the minister of Health and Medical Education in 1989. He was also elected two times as the president of Iran Medical Council for the periods of 1991-1996 and 2017-2019.
Professor Iradj Fazel is the pioneer of organ transplantation after Islamic revolution. However few transplants were carried out before the revolution. It stopped for a long time and people had to seek such treatment outside country.
In his own words, he says:
“Within last 40 years, we have been witnessing huge medical improvements in Iran, which is honorific and eye-opener.
I remember our main problem in medical systems was shortage of medical human resource. There were 5000 doctors from other countries working in Iran while struggling with language, culture and communication problems. People, if financially capable, had to go to developed countries such as US, UK and other western countries for advanced medical services, especially for surgical procedures like heart surgeries.
Due to high expenses and cultural differences, it was a financial, cultural and ethical burden on people’s shoulders to go outside Iran for their treatments. Therefore a huge ambition rose up among Iranian authorities and medical societies to improve health systems and compensate shortages. Iran invested in its talents and soon eminent changes appeared. We made big improvements in all medical aspects including the quantity and quality of medical graduates. Within less than a decade our surgeons were able to handle all advanced procedures such as heart, kidney and liver transplants at their best standard levels with the least expenses.
I myself reported 500 kidney transplants using family donors, so the government sent me a massive check to compensate that I donated it to our soldiers in fronts.
With the least possible budgets within last 40 years we have proudly escalated our capabilities and abilities in medicine and built up many medical universities, research institutes and health care centres, so none of Iranian now needs to go outside country for diagnosis and treatments. We independently reached self-sufficiency and I am proud to be a tiny part of it.
As a physician I have this message for my colleagues that a doctors’ place is in the hearts of people, so we must respect people’s feeling towards ourselves and keep it alive. People from across the world love their doctors and we must do our best to deserve this love”.