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14 July 2008

Death of a Giant: Dr. Michael DeBakey


The Death of a Giant: Dr. Michael Ellis DeBakey

Born:September 7, 1908 (1908-09-07) Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Died: July 11, 2008 (aged 99; almost 100) Houston, Texas, United States
Alma mater: Tulane University
Religious beliefs:Maronite Catholic

Famed Heart Surgeon Michael DeBakey Dead at 99 (Sun. 13 – July 2008)

Michael DeBakey, the man who first performed heart bypass surgery, died Friday night at Methodist Hospital in Houston at the age of 99 from natural causes, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

The renowned cardiovascular surgeon invented many devices to help the ailing human heart; while still in medical school in 1932, he designed the roller pump, which became a key part of the heart-lung machine and opened the door to open-heart surgery. He also was behind the first efforts to develop artificial hearts and heart pumps for those waiting for heart transplants.
In 2006, DeBakey even underwent a procedure that he himself had developed -- the surgical repair of a damaged aorta.

While at the Baylor College of Medicine, officials there said, he helped transform the school into a nationally respected medical institution.

"Dr. DeBakey's reputation brought many people into this institution, and he treated them all: heads of state, entertainers, businessmen and presidents, as well as people with no titles and no means," Ron Girotto, president of the Methodist Hospital System, told the AP.
Cardiovascular surgeon Dr. George Noon called his professional partner "the greatest surgeon of the 20th century," who "single-handedly raised the standard of medical care, teaching and research around the world."

Biography

Early life:

Michael Ellis DeBakey was born as Michel Dabaghi in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Maronite Lebanese immigrants Shaker and Raheeja Dabaghi (later Anglicized to DeBakey).

Medical career:

DeBakey received his BSc degree from Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1932, he received an M.D. degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. He remained in New Orleans to complete his internship and residency in surgery at Charity Hospital. DeBakey completed his surgical fellowships at the University of Strasbourg, France, under Professor René Leriche, and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, under Professor Martin Kirschner. Returning to Tulane Medical School, he served on the surgical faculty from 1937 to 1948. From 1942 to 1946, he was on military leave as a member of the Surgical Consultants' Division in the Office of the Surgeon General of the Army, and in 1945 he became its Director and received the Legion of Merit. DeBakey helped develop the mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) units and later helped establish the Veteran's Administration Medical Center Research System. He joined the faculty of Baylor University College of Medicine (now known as the Baylor College of Medicine) in 1948, serving as Chairman of the Department of Surgery until 1993. DeBakey was president of the college from 1969 to 1979, served as Chancellor from 1979 to January 1996, he was then named Chancellor Emeritus. He was also Olga Keith Wiess and Distinguished Service Professor in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine and Director of the DeBakey Heart Center for research and public education at Baylor College of Medicine and the Methodist Hospital.

DeBakey's ability to bring his professional knowledge to bear on public policy earned DeBakey a reputation as a medical statesman. He was a member of the medical advisory committee of the Hoover Commission and was chairman of the President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke during the Johnson Administration. He has worked tirelessly in numerous capacities to improve national and international standards of health care. Among his numerous consultative appointments was a three-year membership on the National Advisory Heart and Lung Council of the National Institutes of Health.

DeBakey served in the U.S. Army during World War II and helped to revolutionize wartime medicine by supporting the stationing of doctors closer to the front lines. This concept greatly improved the survival rate of wounded soldiers and resulted in the development of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units during the Korean War.

Medical pioneer:

At age 23, while still in medical school at Tulane University, DeBakey invented the roller pump, the significance of which was not realized until 20 years later, when it became an essential component of the heart-lung machine.[10] The pump provided a continuous flow of blood during operations. This, in turn, made open-heart surgery possible.

With his mentor, Alton Ochsner, he postulated in 1939 a strong link between smoking and carcinoma of the lung. DeBakey was one of the first to perform coronary artery bypass surgery, and in 1953 he performed the first successful carotid endarterectomy. A pioneer in the development of an artificial heart, DeBakey was the first to use a external heart pump successfully in a patient — a left ventricular bypass pump.

DeBakey pioneered the use of Dacron grafts to replace or repair blood vessels. In 1958, to counteract narrowing of an artery caused by an endarterectomy, DeBakey performed the first successful patch-graft angioplasty. This procedure involved patching the slit in the artery from an endarterectomy with a Dacron or vein graft. The patch widened the artery so that when it closed, the channel of the artery returned to normal size. The DeBakey artificial graft is now used around the world to replace or repair blood vessels.

In the 1960s, DeBakey and his team of surgeons were among the first to record surgeries on film. A camera operator would lie prone atop a surgical film stand made to Dr. DeBakey's specifications and record a surgeon's eye view of the operating area. The camera and lights were positioned within three to four feet of the operative field, yet did not interfere with the surgical team.

DeBakey worked together with Dr. Denton Cooley, while they both practiced at Baylor College of Medicine. According to the April 18, 1969 issue of Life magazine, they had a disagreement associated with Cooley's apparently unauthorized implantation of the first artificial heart in a human. The disagreement turned into a bitter feud that lasted for decades; the two men reconciled only in 2007, but DeBakey made it public by inviting Cooley to the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal. Debakey was a perfectionist and intolerant of incompetence, and was known to be brutal to surgical trainees and co-workers and would fire surgical assistants who made minor errors.

To the amazement of his colleagues and patients, DeBakey continued to practice medicine into an age well after most others have retired. DeBakey practiced medicine until the day he died, and nearly reached 100 years of age in 2008. His contributions to the field of medicine spanned the better part of 75 years. Dr. DeBakey operated on more than 50,000 patients, including several heads of state. Dr. DeBakey and a team of American cardiothoracic surgeons, including Dr. George Noon, supervised quintuple bypass surgery performed by Russian surgeons on Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996.

During 1969, the Baylor College of Medicine separated from Baylor University under his direction. The DeBakey High School for Health Professions, the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston in the Texas Medical Center in Houston are named after him. He had a role in establishing the Michael E. DeBakey Heart Institute at the Hays Medical Center in Kansas. Several atraumatic vascular surgical clamps and forceps that he introduced also bear his name.

In 1969, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Science. He was a Health Care Hall of Famer, a Lasker Luminary, and a recipient of The United Nations Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction, and The National Medal of Science. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Foundation for Biomedical Research and in 2000 was cited as a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress. On April 23, 2008, he received the Congressional Gold Medal from President George W. Bush, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In 1987 and 1990, Debakey was investigated by the Texas Medical Board for having more than three malpractice lawsuits in a five year period. Both investigations were dismissed. However, in 1994, his Texas medical license was delinquent for nonpayment.

Health issues:

On December 31, 2005, at age 97, DeBakey suffered an aortic dissection. Years prior, DeBakey had pioneered the surgical treatment of this condition, creating what is now known as the DeBakey Procedure. He was hospitalized at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.
Dr. DeBakey initially resisted the surgical option, but as his health deteriorated and DeBakey became unresponsive, the surgical team opted to proceed with surgical intervention. In a controversial decision, Houston Methodist Hospital
Ethics Committee approved the operation; on February 9–10, he became the oldest patient ever to undergo the surgery for which he was responsible. The operation lasted seven hours. After a complicated post-operative course that required eight months in the hospital, at a cost of over one million dollars, Dr. DeBakey was released in September 2006 and returned to good health. Although DeBakey had previously refused surgery, he later stated that he was grateful that his surgical team performed the operation.

He was present at Baylor College of Medicine for the groundbreaking of the new Michael E. DeBakey Library and Museum on October 18, 2006.

OBITUARY:


On July 11, 2008, DeBakey died of natural causes at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

DeBakey was preceded in death by his first wife, Diana Cooper DeBakey who died of a heart attack in 1972 and by his sons, Houston lawyer Ernest O. DeBakey, who died in 2004, and Barry E. DeBakey, who died in 2007. His brother Dr. Ernest G. DeBakey died in 2006. Ernest DeBakey was a cancer specialist in Mobile, Alabama. In addition to his wife, Katrin, and their daughter, Olga, DeBakey is survived by sons Michael and Denis, as well as sisters Lois and Selma DeBakey, who are both medical editors and linguists at Baylor.

Honors

Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Academy of Medical Films
American Heart Association (AHA)
Children Uniting Nations
Encyclopaedia Britannica
Foundation for Biomedical Research
International College of Angiology
International Health and Medical Film Festival
Research! America
Tulane Medical Alumni Association
U.S. Army Legion of Merit (1945)
American Medical Association Hektoen Gold Medal (1954 and 1970)
Rudolph Matas Award in Vascular Surgery (1954)
International Society of Surgery Distinguished Service Award (1958)
Leriche Award (1959)
American Medical Association Distinguished Service Award (1959)
Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research (1963)
American Medical Association Billings Gold Medal Exhibit Award (1967)
American Heart Association Gold Heart Award (1968)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Academy of Sciences 50th Anniversary Jubilee Medal (1973)
Russian Academy of Medical Sciences Foreign Member (1974)
Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander-in-Chief’s Medal and Citation (1980)
American Surgical Association Distinguished Service Award (1981)
Academy of Surgical Research Markowitz Award (1988)
Association of American Medical Colleges Special Recognition Award (1988)
American Legion Distinguished Service Award (1990)
Premio Giuseppe Corradi Award for Surgery and Scientific Research (1997)
Russian Military Medical Academy, Boris Petrovsky International Surgeons Award and First Laureate of the Boris Petrovsky Gold Medal (1997)
John P. McGovern Compleat Physician Award (1999)
Russian Academy of Sciences Foreign Member (1999)
Texas Senate and House of Representatives, Adoption of resolutions honoring Dr. DeBakey for 50 years of medical practice in Texas (1999)
American Medical Association Virtual Mentor Award (2000)
American Philosophical Society Jonathan Rhoads Medal (2000)
Library of Congress Bicentennial Living Legend Award (2000)
Villanova University Mendel Medal Award (2001)
Houston Hall of Fame (2001)
NASA Invention of the Year Award (2001)
MUSC "Lindbergh-Carrel Prize"(2002)
Congressional Gold Medal (April 23, 2008)

Publications

As a lifelong scholar, Dr. DeBakey's writings are reflected in more than 1,300 published medical articles, chapters and books on various aspects of surgery, medicine, health, medical research and medical education, as well as ethical, socio-economics and philosophic discussion in these fields. Many of these are now considered classics. In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a best selling author, having co-authored such popular works as The Living Heart, The Living Heart Shopper's Guide and The Living Heart Guide to Eating Out.

Michael E. DeBakey, M.D.

Pioneer, innovator, miracle maker, Samaritan

Michael Ellis DeBakey is an internationally recognized and respected physician and surgeon, noted for his pioneering work in the field of cardiovascular surgery, as well as for his innovative research into this and other fields of medicine. He is credited with inventing and perfecting scores of medical devices, techniques and procedures which have led to healthy hearts and productive lives for millions throughout the world. Dacron arteries, arterial bypass operations, artificial hearts, heart pumps and heart transplants are common procedures in today's medicine, thanks to Dr. DeBakey.

Additionally, Michael DeBakey is credited with developing the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (M.A.S.H.) concepts for the military, which has led to saving thousands during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. As well, the development of specialized medical and surgical center systems, in order to treat returning military personnel, subsequently became the Veterans Administration Medical Center System, saving many more lives.

Dr. DeBakey has earned an enviable reputation as a medical statesman. He has served as advisor to almost every President in the past fifty years, as well as to heads of state throughout the world. He led the movement to establish the National Library of Medicine, which is now the world's largest and most prestigious repository of medical archives. Dr. DeBakey continues to devote considerable time to national advisory committees and to consultantships in Europe and the Middle and Far East, where he has helped to establish health care systems.

As a lifelong scholar, Dr. DeBakey's writings are reflected in more than 1,300 published medical articles, chapters and books on various aspects of surgery, medicine, health, medical research and medical education, as well as ethical, socio-economics and philosophic discussion in these fields. many of these are now considered classics. In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a best selling author, having co-authored such popular works as, The Living Heart, The Living Heart Shopper's Guide and The Living Heart Guide to Eating Out.

This prolific humanitarian has performed more than 60,000 cardiovascular procedures and has trained thousands of surgeons who practice through the world. He has operated on heads of state, princes and celebrities, as well as paupers, with the same exacting surgical technique and compassion to all. In 1976, his students from throughout the world founded the Michael E. DeBakey International Surgical Society. In appreciation of his untiring pedagogic and investigative efforts, the Trustees of Baylor University, where Dr. DeBakey is Chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine, established the Michael E. DeBakey Center for Biomedical Education, as well as the Debakey Lectureship.

Dr. DeBakey has received numerous honorary degrees from prestigious colleges and universities as well as innumerable awards from educational institutions, professional and civic organizations, and governments worldwide. In 1969, he received the highest honor a United Sates citizen can received, the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Science.

With his keen intellect, professional ingenuity, personal integrity and selfless devotion to humanity, Women's International Center is so proud to present the International Samaritan Living Legacy Award to a living legend and a genuine healer of the human heart.

Michael DeBakey
AKA Michael Ellis DeBakey

Bio-Data:

Born: 7-Sep-1908
Birthplace: Lake Charles, LA
Died: 11-Jul-2008
Location of death: Houston, TX
Cause of death: Natural Causes
Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Inventor
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States (Lebanese Origin)
Executive summary: Pioneering heart surgeon
Military service: US Army
Father: Shaker Morris DeBakey (el-Dabaghy)
Mother: Raheehja Zorba DeBakey
Brother: Ernest G. DeBakey
Sister: Lois DeBakey
Sister: Selma DeBakey
Wife: Selwa DeBakey
Diana Cooper (m. 15-Oct-1936, d., four sons)

Education:

Member:


Awards:



His nephew, who was a dear friend of mine and has his namesake, died at 36 from an air bomb in Hasmeieh, Lebanon, in 1983. I commemorate them both.

h.n.

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