Dr. Michael Debakey, perhaps the greatest heart surgeon of the last century, passed away last night. He was from Lake Charles Louisiana and his legacy looms large here at the Texas medical center and around the world:
Dear Members of the BCM Family:
It is with profound sadness that I advise you of the death of Dr. Michael DeBakey at 9:38 p.m. Friday, July 11. Below is a joint statement that was just released to news media by Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital. I know that you join me in offering our deepest sympathy to the entire DeBakey family.
Peter G. Traber, M.D.
Baylor, Methodist mourn death of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey
On behalf of the entire Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital families, it is with profound sadness that we announce the death of pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. The college, the hospital, and indeed the entire world, have lost a great man today.
Dr. DeBakey died at 9:38 p.m. Friday, July 11 from natural causes at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.
In a career spanning more than 70 years, Dr. DeBakey performed more than 60,000 heart surgeries. Other surgeons have used his innovations in cardiovascular surgery worldwide to save the lives of countless millions.
“Dr. DeBakey’s reputation brought many people into this institution, and he treated them all: heads of state, entertainers, businessmen and presidents, as well as people with no titles and no means,” said Ron Girotto, president of The Methodist Hospital System. “He always said that Methodist is a hospital with a soul … and for more than 50 years, Dr. DeBakey has been the heart and soul of Methodist.”
“He has improved the human condition and touched the lives of generations to come,” continued Girotto. “We will greatly miss him.”
“With each passing year, Dr. DeBakey continued to provide great wisdom to those who sought his counsel,” said Dr. Peter G. Traber, BCM president. “As Baylor College of Medicine’s first President, he set a standard for preeminence and never let anyone here forget the importance of leadership in academic medicine. We have lost a man who was a great physician, educator, leader and above all, a great friend.”
“We will miss him, but we will honor his memory by continuing to excel in those things he taught us,” Traber said.
“Dr. DeBakey singlehandedly raised the standard of medical care, teaching and research around the world,” said Dr. George Noon, a cardiovascular surgeon and longtime partner of DeBakey’s. “He was the greatest surgeon of the 20th century, and physicians everywhere are indebted to him for his contributions to medicine.”
“Dr. DeBakey was an incredible man and his contributions to medicine are unmatched,” said Dr. Bobby R. Alford, Chancellor of Baylor College of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at Baylor and The Methodist Hospital. “He was a dear friend and colleague for more than 40 years. He will be missed dearly.”