July 15, 2008
On behalf of the veterans, volunteers, and staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, it is with profound sadness we announce the death of soldier, surgeon, statesman, and our namesake, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey.
Dr. DeBakey died at 9:38 p.m., Friday, July 11, 2008 from natural causes at The Methodist Hospital in Houston. He was 99 years of age.
Considered the father of modern cardiovascular surgery, Dr. DeBakey was internationally recognized as an ingenious medical inventor and innovator, a steadfast veteran, a gifted and dedicated teacher, a premier surgeon, and an international medical statesman.
Volunteering for military service during World War II, Dr. DeBakey worked to develop MASH units and establish a specialized medical and surgical center system for treating military personnel returning from war. Through his work with the Hoover Commission in 1948, Dr. DeBakey was instrumental in the conversion of the old Houston Navy Hospital to the Veterans Administration Hospital.
“Dr. DeBakey loved this nation and had deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have defended her. Throughout his life, this was evident in his thoughts, words, and deeds,” said Edgar L. Tucker, MEDVAMC director. “The VA is a richer organization because of Dr. DeBakey. He will be dearly missed.”
In recognition of Dr. DeBakey's tireless efforts on behalf of our nation's veterans, the United States Congress passed, and on December 6, 2003, the President signed Public Law 108-70, Section 243 officially changing the name of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas to the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. On October 16, 2007, the President signed into law S. 474 to award Congress’ highest and most distinguished civilian awards, the Congressional Gold Medal, to Dr. DeBakey.
For more information on the legacy of Dr. Michael DeBakey, visit http://www.houston.va.gov/debakey.asp.