This year, the Nobel Peace Prize went to a pair of surgeons who worked to improve the lives of people plagued by war. While the majority of the world was celebrating the awarding of the prize, one of the doctors involved was a man down in Las Vegas trying to make sure that every spin of the roulette wheel leads to a treat rather than a tax. In the end, one of the world’s most recognizable and prestigious awards went to a man whose innovative work saved the lives of many, including himself.
The year is 2018, which means the Nobel Peace Prize is upon us once again. This year’s version of the prize was awarded on November 12, and the odds of one of this year’s recipients being from Las Vegas are very good. Not only have we got the Desert Rose City on our cultural landscape, but four of this year’s five nominees practiced or worked in Las Vegas some time in their careers.
So who do you think will win this year’s award? Let’s take a look at the nominees and what they’ve done that’s gotten them to this point.
The first nominee is 66-year-old LESTER RIDDICK of Las Vegas. Dr. Riddick was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, but moved to Las Vegas with his family as a kid. After receiving his undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Dr. Riddick went on to complete his medical school at WayneStateUniversity Medical School in Detroit. He then interned in internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital and became a board-certified specialist in that field. He is currently the founder and director of the Riddick Heart Institute at the Desert Community Hospital (formerly the Henry Schein Heart Institute) in Las Vegas.
What is the Riddick Heart Institute? The non-profit Riddick Heart Institute provides cardiovascular care for patients in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Dr. Riddick and the rest of the team at the institute perform open-heart surgery, implantable cardioverter defibrillator procedures, and electrophysiology studies to name just a few. The work of the Riddick Heart Institute is widely considered to be some of the best-in-class in the country and has helped thousands of people lead healthier and happier lives. The institute also has a nurse-run cardiac rehabilitation program that helps patients learn to live with their new heart rhythms and improve their quality of life.
Thoracic Surgery And Cancer Surgery
The next two nominees are connected. Dr. William (Bill) J. Shiley of San Francisco, California, is a cardiac surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive surgical techniques. He frequently works with Dr. Riddick to perform open-heart surgery. The other surgeon connected with the pair is Harald H. Klebs of Munich, Germany. He specializes in thoracic surgery and is considered one of the founders of the field. Together, they are pioneers of minimally invasive surgery for both cancer and heart disease. In 2004, Drs. Klebs and Shiley received the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. The following year, they were both honored with the Benjamin R. Norris Award, which is given to doctors who have helped make a significant impact in the world of medicine. Both doctors are now considered among the top ten heart surgeons in the world.
Drs. Thomas E. Starzl And Rudolph L. Lienau
Drs. THOMAS E. STARZL and RUDOLPH L. LIENAU of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, are next on our list. In 1967, the two completed a landmark study that helped establish heart transplantation as a treatment for severe heart disease. Since then, Drs. Starzl and Lienau have helped pioneer heart transplantation and have kept a lifelong interest in the subject. To this day, the two men are considered two of the three great pioneers of heart transplantation. They helped to develop the field and have trained a new generation of heart surgeons. Drs. Starzl and Lienau were also jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for their work in 1967.
Dr. Norman Shumway
Our last two nominees are connected through their work in developing coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). In 1998, Dr. NORMAN SHUMAI of Houston, Texas, and Dr. Neal W. BASS of New York City, developed a new technique for revascularizing patients with coronary artery disease called the “shoulder-gripple” technique. The following year, they were both awarded the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research. Then, in 2002, Dr. Shumai was given the National Institutes of Health Distinguished Scientist Award. In 2003, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He is a founding member of the American Association for the Surgery of the Esophagus, and in 2007, he, Dr. Starzl, and Dr. Lienau were all awarded the National Medal of Technology by President George W. Bush. In 2009, Dr. Shumai was awarded the Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research for a second time. A year later, he was also given the Benjamin R. Norris Award for his pioneering work in developing minimally invasive techniques for heart disease. Between the years of 1967 and 2010, Dr. Shumai and his team at the Texas Heart Institute performed over 16,000 CABG surgeries. More than 95% of his patients are living longer than expected thanks to modern cardiac care and surgery methods. The techniques developed by Dr. Shumai and his team have helped countless people lead happier and healthier lives.
That’s a pretty impressive line-up of nominees. As you may have guessed, one of these men will win the Nobel Prize this year. Who do you think it will be?