Dr. Michael Debakey was a Lebanese-American cardiac surgeon. He was born in 1908, and died in 2008. He is very well known, and developed many surgical techniques and performed thousands of surgeries over his career. He is most well-known for helping develop the mobile army surgical hospital. This helped people receive critical care in the battlefield. This saved many lives beyond those involved in Korea and Vietnam, and continues to be beneficial today. He worked with the Surgeon General and inspired a system of research that the Department of Veteran affairs used. He also advised many presidents, and worked hard to start the National Library of Medicine. He performed well over 60,000 operations in his life time, continuing to work past the age when many of his colleagues in the field had retired. He performed cardiac surgeries both on well-known and famous people, as well as those who were poor and could not afford the procedures that could save their lives.
Dr. Debakey received many awards for his achievements, including the American Medical Association Distinguished Service Award, and most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction in 1969, the highest award a US citizen can receive.
Debakey helped pioneer the first successful coronary artery bypass, the first successful implantation of a ventricle assist, and others. He also helped pioneer an artificial heart, and later helped create a heart pump that could be used in children.
In 2005, Michael Debakey suffered an aortic dissection. Years ago, he had developed an surgical procedure, known as the Debakey procedure, to fix this problem. He initially refused the surgical treatment, but then became unresponsive. A board of Ethics at the hospital voted to give him the procedure. The surgery lasted seven hours, but ultimately prolonged his life. He died at the age of 99 in 2008, two months before his 100th birthday.