Dr. Michael F. Teodori, MD, a Humanitarian Pediatric Cardiologist Volunteer

Since 1989, Dr. Michael F. Teodori has performed complex corrective open-heart surgeries for Gift of Life – Arizona free of charge, both here and in Mexico including all post operative care until time of discharge. Gift of Life – Arizona provides medical care and support for needy children and their families world wide who are suffering from congenital heart defects. As highlighted in and article of the 2011 January issue of Tucson Lifestyle Magazine focusing on Top Doctors, he has also spearheaded and organized missions to Ethiopia, which are sponsored in large part by Gift of Life-Arizona and also by The Children’s Heart Fund and Healing the Children. His compassion for those less fortunate is integral to his day to day work as he comes across patients with little to no means for which to get the specialized medical care he provides, and takes the time to help refer these patients to organizations that can help.

This commitment to helping those who are less fortunate, both here in Arizona and all over the globe, is well demonstrated in the almost 58 surgeries over the last 23 years he’s performed for the children in the Gift of Life – Arizona program who would otherwise not be alive if not for his humble but passionate work. His dedication, patience, compassion and commitment to the successful healing of his child patients can be attested to his countless hours a day and attentive care given to the both the patient and their families. In 2002 the Phoenix New Times published and article on Dr. Teodori called “The Prince of Hearts” by Paul Rubin, in which the scope of his expertise and dedication are made clear.

Dr. Teodori was the Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Division at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, working with children from newborn infants to teens with congenital heart defects requiring surgery where he developed the state-of-the-art Children’s Heart Center, and as the working division chief he oversaw all cases in the hospital for complete and thorough care. According to PCH, “he found time to performed more than 300 open-heart surgeries per year” around 70% of Arizona’s pediatric heart surgeries, “with a mortality rate under 3% – one of the best in the nation. In the minds of his patients, their families, and his staff, Teodori is a legend.” Most recently he has moved to the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona where he is a both a Clinical Professor and the Director of the Congenital and Pediatric Cardiac Surgery. He was voted in “Best Doctors in America 2009-2010”. He was also voted a Finalist in 2009 in the Surgeon category the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Awards for Arizona Business Magazine. In 2008 he was noted as a distinguished cardiovascular surgeons on the Summit for the Ross Procedure (only a few hundred cardiothoracic surgeons in the world are licensed to do this procedure). In 2011 he was one of 7 recipients of the Hon Kachina Award for excellence in volunteerism. In 2012 he was granted a Paul Harris award by District 5500.

One of Gift of Life – Arizona’s most recent patients had his congenital heart defect corrected by Dr. Teodori, and his mother’s reaction sums it up perfectly. She said, “If it wasn’t for his calming and compassionate demeanor, my fear of this operation on my child would have gotten the best of me” (translated from Spanish). Not only that, she said, “He was so obviously determined to overcome the complications after his surgery, I thanked God he was in Dr. Teodori’s hands and I knew he would be ok”. One of the procedures is a “Ross”, which is a complicated procedure that only a few hundred heart surgeons have mastered in the world. This patient made a full recovery and is truly a new child. They were so grateful to him, that they presented him with a plaque in gratitude for his countless hours of work with their son and his determination to make him whole. These are the experiences that move him to continue his work for those children who’s families can’t afford the medical care they need. His tireless dedication to his work and his patients has been witnessed by and have earned him the respect of all who have worked with him.

We at Gift of Life – Arizona are very fortunate and grateful to have the support of Dr. Teodori and faith in our mission to help these poor children and give them the Gift of Life.