Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dr Michael DeBakey

Dr Michael DeBakey
He was heart surgeon, who served as an advisor to US presidents for more than 40 years. He died on July 11, 2008 at the age of 99.

DeBakey was the pioneer of bypass surgery and helped develop more than 70 surgical instruments in a career spanning 75 years. He was known as American heart surgeon, innovator, medical educator, and international medical statesman. DeBakey was the chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and director of the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center. He helped turn Baylor College from a provincial school into one of the nation’s great medical institutions.

DeBakey was born September 7, 1908, in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the son of Lebanese immigrants. He got interested in medicine while listening to physicians chat at his father's pharmacy.

He received his bachelor's and medical degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was elected to Alpha Omega (A.O.A) honorary medical society. He completed his internship and residency in surgery at charity Hospital in New Orleans and his surgical fellowships at the University of Strasburg, France and University of Heidelberg, Germany.

He recalled in 1999 that the time he finished medical school in 1932, "there was virtually nothing you could do for heart disease. If a patient came in with a heart attack, it was up to God."
While still a medical student in 1932 he developed the pump which would be used 20 years later to keep blood moving in the body during open heart surgery.

DeBakey has operated on more than 60 000 patients in Houston alone. His patients include princes and paupers, celebrities and unknowns the world over, all of whom receive the same high standards of excellence in healthcare.

In 1996, aged 87, he flew to Russia to examine President Boris Yeltsin and later oversaw his heart bypass surgery in Moscow and helped save his life. Yeltsin died of heart failure aged 76 last year.

Dr. DeBakey was a member of the most distinguished medical societies, having served as President of many of them. He was a founder and the first Editor of the Journal of Vascular Surgery. He was Editor of the Year Book of General Surgery for fourteen years.
Dr Michael DeBakey
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