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Dr. Michael E. DeBakey - 2001

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey - 2001

Michael E. DeBakey is a world-renowned pioneer of modern medicine. A prodigious medical inventor, gifted teacher, and outstanding surgeon, Dr. DeBakey is currently Chancellor Emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. DeBakey untiringly pursues new avenues in which modern technology can be applied to the practice of healing and saving lives. He is credited with inventing and perfecting scores of medical devices, techniques and procedures. Currently, he is working with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to develop a self-contained, miniaturized artificial heart. His DeBakey-Raytheon-ITS telemedicine system uses satellites to electronically link remote sites of the world to the famed Texas medical center for medical training and treatment.

Dr. DeBakey is credited with inventing and perfecting scores of medical devices, techniques and procedures. His pioneering work includes developing Dacron arteries, arterial bypass operations, artificial hearts, heart pumps and heart transplants which are now common procedures in today's medicine. Additionally, he is credited with developing the Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals (M.A.S.H.) concepts for the military, which has led to saving thousands of lives during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The development of specialized medical and surgical center systems, in order to treat returning military personnel, subsequently became the Veterans Administration Medical Center System.

Dr. DeBakey has served as an advisor to nearly every United States president for the past 50 years, as well as to the heads of state throughout the world. His 1996 trip to Russia to consult on the surgery of Russian president Boris Yeltsin was reported by every major news medial outlet around the world. Dr. DeBakey's efforts helped establish the National Library of Medicine, which is now the world's largest and the most prestigious repository of medical archives.

Dr. DeBakey has performed more than 60,000 cardiovascular procedures and has trained thousands of surgeons who practice around the world. In 1976, his students founded the Michael E. DeBakey International Surgical Society. His name is affixed to a number of organizations, centers for learning, and projects devoted to medical education and health education for the general public.

Dr. DeBakey is the recipient of 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, Dr. DeBakey received the highest honor a United States citizen can receive -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. In 1987, he was awarded the National Medal of Science and in 1999, Dr. DeBakey was one of eight individuals chosen to commemorate the United Nations' International Day for Tolerance and received the prestigious UN Lifetime Achievement Award. The following year, Dr. DeBakey was similarly recognized by the U.S. Library of Congress; which designated him a Living Legend.

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey died Friday, July 11, 2008 in Houston, where he lived. He was 99. Read The New York Times obituary.

Mendel Medal Presentation Program, January 20, 2001. Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania.