Houston Treasures

Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. (in memoriam)


Photo by: Gititngs

debakey dr. michael Publisher’s note: Dr. DeBakey passed away July, 2008. His legacy lives on through his outstanding contributions to medicine and humanity.

Michael E. DeBakey, M.D., pre-eminent cardiovascular surgeon, is internationally acclaimed as an ingenious medical inventor and innovator, a gifted and dedicated teacher, and a peerless surgeon. Dr. DeBakey has served as President, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine. He is now Chancellor Emeritus, Distinguished Service Professor and Olga Keith Wiess Professor of Surgery in the Michael E. DeBakey Heart Center, which was established by Baylor and The Methodist Hospital in 1985 for research and public education in the prevention and treatment of Heart Disease.

In 1953, Dr. DeBakey performed the first successful carotid endarterectomy for stroke, in 1964, the first successful coronary artery bypass, and in 1966, he performed the first successful use of a left ventricle bypass pump for heart failure. He also performed the first excision and graft replacement for aneurysms of the descending, ascending thoracic aortas, and the aortic arch and for dissecting aneurysm. He developed the first successful clinical application of Dacron and Dacron-velour graft for replacement of aneurysms and occlusive diseases of the aorta and major arteries.

Because of his unique ability to bring professional knowledge to bear on public policy worldwide, Dr. DeBakey is known as an international medical statesman. He has served as advisor to virtually every United States President in the past fifty years and to heads-of-state throughout the world. He has received 60 honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities, as well as innumerable awards from educational institutions, professional and civic organizations, and governments worldwide. These include the prestigious Lasker Award, the U.S. Army Legion of Merit Award, the Rudolf Matas Award in Vascular Surgery, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, the National Medal of Science, and the Library of Congress Living Legend Award.

Dr. DeBakey’s lifelong scholarship is reflected in more than 1600 published medical articles, chapters, and books on various aspects of surgery, medicine, health, medicine, medical research, and medical education, as well as related ethical, socioeconomic, and philosophic issues. In addition, he is a co-author of The Living Heart series of popular books for the public, a layman’s guide to the heart and heart disease, including The Living Heart (1986), The Living Heart Brand Name Shopper’s Guide (1995), The Living Heart Guide to Eating Out (1993), The New Living Heart (1997), which was on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Dr. DeBakey’s keen intellect, professional ingenuity, personal integrity, and selfless devotion in service to humanity have made him a legend in his own time.

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