1908 - Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana
1928 - Entered medical school at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
1932 - Developed roller pump used in heart-lung machine
1937 - Joined faculty at Tulane University
1942 - Assigned to US Surgeon General's office
1945 - Awarded Legion of Merit for developing MASH units
1949 - Led movement to establish National Library of Medicine
1950-53 - Developed Dacron artificial grafts for cardiac bypass surgery
1953 - Performed first removal of blockage in carotid artery
1956 - Performed first patch-graft angioplasty
1959 - Received Distinguished Service Award from American Medical Association
1960 - Began development of artificial heart
1963 - Was first to use interactive telemedicine
1964 - Performed first aorto-coronary artery bypass
1964 - Appointed chairman of President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke
1966 - Was first to successfully use an artificial heart
1968 - Performed first of 12 heart transplants
1969 - Appointed president of Baylor College of Medicine
1969 - Presented with the Medal of Freedom with Distinction
1977 - Authored The Living Heart
1978 - The Michael E. DeBakey Center for Biomedical Education and Research created
1984 - Authored The Living Heart Diet
1985 - The DeBakey Heart Center created
1987 - Awarded the National Medicine of Science
1991 - Given Lifetime Achievement Award of the Foundation for Biomedical Research
1993 - Received Honorary Doctorate from Moscow State University
1996 - Inducted into Health Care Hall of Fame
1998 - Celebrates 50 years at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital
1998 - German surgeons implant DeBakey VAD in 1st human patient
1999 - Received Lifetime Achievement Award from United Nations
2000 - Cited as "Living Legend" by United States Library of Congress
Michael Ellis DeBakey is internationally recognized as a pioneer of modern medicine. An ingenious medical inventor and innovator, a gifted and dedicated teacher, a premier surgeon, and an international medical statesman, Dr. DeBakey is relentlessly pursuing new avenues in which modern technology can be applied to the practice of healing and saving lives.
He is currently 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.
At age 88, DeBakey is a senior attending surgeon at The Methodist Hospital, the largest hospital in the Texas Medical Center. He is also chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine, a center for leading medical education and research.
Born in Louisiana, DeBakey received his Bachelor's and medical degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and residency in surgery at the University of Strasbourg, France and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.
While in medical school and actively engaged in medical research, DeBakey invented the roller pump, later to become a major component of the heart-lung machine used in open-heart surgery. He is also credited with inventing and perfecting other medical devices, techniques, and procedures that have saved countless lives and led to health hearts for millions throughout the world.
DeBakey volunteered for military service during World War II, and was subsequently named director of the Surgical Consultants' Division of the U.S. Surgeon General's office. His work in that office led to the development of mobile army surgical hospital (MASH units). He later helped establish the specialized medical and surgical center system for treating military personnel returning from war, subsequently the Veteran's Administration Medical Center System.
Over the years, DeBakey has earned an impressive reputation as an international medical statesman. He has served as an advisor to nearly every United States president for the past 50 years, as well as to heads of state throughout the world. DeBakey's efforts helped establish the National Library of Medicine, which is now the world's largest and most prestigious repository of medical archives. More recently, 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.
This prolific surgeon and humanitarian 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.
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 States citizen can receive - the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded the National Medal of Science to DeBakey.
As he celebrated his 90th birthday and his 50th year with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital, the world recognized DeBakey’s contributions to medicine. He was seen by millions of television viewers performing a surgery with Dr. George Noon on NBC’s "Today" show, and was interviewed afterwards by host Matt Lauer. In 1999, DeBakey was one of eight individuals chosen to commemorate the United Nations’ International Day for Tolerance and received the presitigious UN Lifetime Achievement Award. A year later DeBakey was similarly recognized by the U. S. Library of Congress, which designated him a Living Legend.
In 1978, a 300-lb bronze bust of DeBakey, commissioned by King Leopold and Princess Liliane of Belgium, was unveiled. At the unveiling, the Princess said, "He has provided national and international leadership in fighting cardiovascular disease, and this bust will be a symbol of hope and encouragement to all who come here. The bust stands in the lobby of The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. But, always nearby is Dr. DeBakey himself, also a symbol of hope and encouragement, and a true living legend.