Dr. Michael DeBakey was a world-renowned and extremely skilled cardiovascular surgeon. He was the inventor of many crucial surgical devices as well as the pioneer of several different kinds of surgery and performed thousands of cardiovascular surgeries over his career.
He graduated Tulane University’s School of Medicine in New Orleans in 1932 at the age of 23. That same year, he invented the “roller pump” a pump that would later be instrumental in the performance of open-heart surgery. DeBakey also joined the military during WWII and inspired the creation of mobile army surgical hospital or MASH units that saved thousands of lives even beyond WWII, in Korea and Vietnam. His work with the US Surgeon General’s office also inspired the hospital research system that the Department of Veteran Affairs used. He served as the advisor to many presidents and worked to start the National Library of Medicine. DeBakey performed over 60,000 cardiovascular surgeries over his career on both famous and well-known people as well as those would not be able to afford the surgery.
Dr. Debakey received many awards such as the American Medical Association Distinguished Service Award, the Presidential National Medal of Science- given to him by Ronal Reagan, as well as many honorary awards from various universities and other organizations. The most notable award he received was the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction in 1969 which is the highest award a US citizen can receive.
Some of the surgeries and medical devices he pioneered include the first successful coronary artery bypass, the first successful implantation of a ventricle assist device and others. He- in conjunction with Robert Jarvik- invented the Jarvik artificial heart. He later helped to create a heart pump that could be used in children who needed it.
Dr. Michael DeBakey was an incredible man and doctor who unfortunately died at the age of 99 in 2008- two months before his 100th birthday.