Jan. 23, 1927 – July 5, 2017
Dr. Syde Abbas Taheri was endlessly inventive.
He tried to find a way to inject French fries with other vegetables to make them healthier. In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, he had an idea for capping the runaway well.
His most successful inspiration, however, was in his specialty, vascular surgery.
Dr. Taheri devised a stent which repairs aneurysms in the chest — the Talent Thoracic Stent Graft, which eliminates the need for major surgery.
A fabric tube supported by a metal framework, it is inserted with a catheter and expands to fit tightly inside the aorta. First tested at the University at Buffalo in 1991 and now in common use worldwide, it has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
He was invited to speak with fellow surgeons around the globe about his innovations. He held nearly three dozen patents for medical devices and procedures.
“I remember one time, a patient hired him to teach his son how to think and be creative,” one of his sons, Michael A. Taheri, a Buffalo attorney, recalled. “He read constantly. He was relentless in pursuit of different ideas.”
He died unexpectedly Wednesday in his home in Canterbury Woods, Amherst. He was 90.
Born in the picturesque desert city of Yadz, Iran, he earned a medical degree at the University of Tehran in 1951, then came to the U.S. to serve his internship and residencies.
From 1955 to 1958, he was a resident in surgery and thoracic surgery at Buffalo General Hospital, where he met Joanne Golde, a phlebotomist. They were married in 1956.
He went on to be a resident in thoracic surgery at Baylor University Medical School, studying under renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, then returned to Buffalo as a fellow in surgical research at Millard Fillmore Hospital.
Dr. Taheri maintained his affiliation at Millard Fillmore after he opened a solo practice on Delaware Avenue in 1961 and later was an attending physician at Kenmore Mercy, DeGraff Memorial, St. Joseph and Buffalo General hospitals.
“He was probably one of the two or three best surgeons I’ve ever seen,” said his other son, Dr. Paul Taheri, a trauma surgeon and deputy director of the Yale Medical Group in New Haven, Conn. “He was lightning fast. When you’re working with aortas and the patient is bleeding, fast is good.”
He became a clinical assistant professor of surgery at the UB Medical School in the 1970s and became a full clinical professor in 2007.
One of his former students, a surgeon, told Michael Taheri that he and his classmates had scoffed at Dr. Taheri’s predictions about the future of surgery.
“‘But your father was right,’ he said. ‘He was 25 years ahead of everybody in vascular surgery. Today we’re doing what he was talking about,’” Michael Taheri said.
Dr. Taheri published hundreds of papers and in the 1990s founded a local medical and surgical journal, Tracks, which he edited for about 10…