January 12, 2004
HOUSTON, TX - The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas has been renamed in honor of Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. in accordance with Public Law 108-70, Section 243. A renaming ceremony will take place in June 2004.
Considered the father of modern cardiovascular surgery, DeBakey is 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. In 1953, after three years of research, he introduced the Dacron and Dacron-velour artificial arteries that he had developed initially on his wife's sewing machine. This was followed by the perfecting of numerous innovative surgical techniques that would save thousands of lives in the years ahead.
Additional breakthroughs followed in the 1960s, and in 1968, DeBakey supervised the first successful multi-organ transplantations, when a heart, both kidneys, and a lung were transplanted from a single donor to four separate recipients. By this time, such was this physician's fame that numerous world figures turned to him, not only for medical help but for the single privilege of being associated with the man who Britain's Duke of Windsor referred to as "the maestro" and whose likeness appeared on the May 28, 1965 cover of Time Magazine.
Volunteering for military service during World War II, DeBakey was named director of the Surgical Consultants' Division of the U.S. Surgeon General's office. His work in that office led to the development of mobile army surgical hospital (MASH units). He later helped establish the specialized medical and surgical center system for treating military personnel returning from war, subsequently the Veteran's Administration Medical Center System. This prolific surgeon and humanitarian has performed more than 60,000 cardiovascular procedures and has trained thousands of surgeons who practice around the world.
Through his work with the Hoover Commission in 1948, DeBakey was instrumental in the conversion of the old Houston Navy Hospital to the Veterans Administration Hospital on April 15, 1949. Acting on orders from President Truman to assume operation of the Navy Hospital, Warren Magnuson, M.D., the medical director of the Veterans Administration in Washington, called upon DeBakey to organize and direct staffing at the hospital. DeBakey, with the help of the full-time faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, provided the medical staff and established the Dean's Committee. As chief surgeon at the Houston Veterans Administration Hospital, DeBakey also created an accredited residency program for the facility.
"We are honored and thrilled to have our VA medical center named after Dr. DeBakey," said Edgar L. Tucker, director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. "A living legend, Dr. DeBakey has truly served his country and his fellow man his entire life."
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Point of Contact: VHAHOU Public Affairs04/21/04 08:25