Sunday, July 13, 2008

An Epitaph of Gratitude

A long time ago, when i was in school, i remember preparing for a quiz and i came across this name for the first time.
Recognized the world over as 'The Father of heart surgery',
Dr Michael De Bakey breathed his last on Friday night at the M6thodist hospital at Houston, where he worked for 60 years!!

Dr De Bakey was the pioneer who was the first succeddful surgeon to perform a Cardiac By-Pass surgery by replacing a faulty vein the heart with a healthy one from the patient's leg in 1964.
This procedure must have saved millions of lives to date and opened the path to a wide range of possibilities in the field of surgery.

But more inspiring is his story itself!!
Born to Lebanese immigrants in Louisiana in 1908 as Michael Dabaghi, his name was later Anglicized to De Bakey.
Dr De Bakey was one the the primary people responsible for creating the world-famous Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H) during his stint with the US Army.
At the age of 23, still in medical school, he invented the Roller Pump. It is this life-saving device that pumps blood into the heart during an open-heart surgery. He was also the first surgeon to successfully use an artificial heart in a patient.
His team was the first to record heart surgeries, the first to replace a valve in a human heart, and so on!

But the most surprising fact of all is that Dr Michael De Bakey never retired in life! He kept practising medicine till the day he died! He was 2 months shy of his 100 th birthday when he died.
Dr De Bakey performed over 50000 Open Heart Surgeries in his career spanning almost 75 years!
Since 1949, he has been with the Houston Methodist hospital, and that is where he breathed his last.

With hundreds of Honours under his belt, including the Congressional Gold Medal (America's highest civilian honour), Dr De Bakey left behind a legacy! Of Knowledge, of Innovation and of Saving lives!

You can look up his profile on wikipedia here -

The world owes an enormous debt of gratitude to this 'Magician of the heart'(As Boris Yelstin called him).
He leaves, but his work lives!

Picture Credit - Wikipedia.

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