Skip to main content

Pioneer, innovator, miracle maker, Samaritani

Michael E. Debakey, MD
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.

This information was copied from on August 14, 2006