Dr. Thomas Lajos passed at the age of 86 on March 19, 2018 in Longboat Key, FL. Dr. Lajos was born in Pecs, Hungary. He survived the Nazi occupation and the “Soviet liberation” of Hungary. He graduated as an MD in 1956 and worked as a house surgeon in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution in October 1956. Following the defeat of the uprising by the Soviet troops, he escaped to Austria and settled in Canada and the United States. He trained in surgery at the University of Toronto, where he met Charlotte Ann Scott, a registered nurse; they married in 1964. His postgraduate training in cardiothoracic surgery was completed at St. Louis and Ohio State Universities. He practiced his specialty for over thirty-five years in Buffalo, New York, and served as a clinical professor of surgery at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Working with renowned cardiac surgeon Dr, George Schimert, Dr. Lajos performed the first coronary artery bypass procedure in 1968. Fifteen years later, he teamed with Dr. Joginder Bhayana for the first heart transplant in Buffalo. He authored and co-authored numerous articled for medical journals and chapters for books. He lectured at conferences, symposiums and universities worldwide.
In retirement, Dr. Lajos wrote three books: “Fallen to Tyranny: From Mathausen to Gulag” follows his uncle from his imprisonment by the Nazis in the Mathausen concentration camp to his disappearance as a political prisoner in the Soviet Union. His 2015 memoir, “An Incredible Journey”, recounts his childhood, his escape from Hungary and his arrival in North America. A second memoir in 2017, “From the Heart”, details his professional career and his life in Buffalo.
Dr. Lajos was a long-time member of the HMAA, served on the Board of Directors and was the recipient of the HMAA Lifetime Achievement Award.