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Dr. Michael DeBakey receives Congressional Gold Medal

Houston, TX - 4/23/2008

Pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress, April 23 in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

President George W. Bush presented the medal to DeBakey, 99, who was joined onstage by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and other dignitaries.

“Dr. DeBakey has an impressive resume, but his truest legacy is not inscribed on a medal or etched into stone. It is written on the human heart,” said President Bush. “For nearly a hundred years, our country has been blessed with the endless talents and dedication of Dr. Michael DeBakey. And he has dedicated his career to a truly noble ambition – bettering the life of his fellow man.”

DeBakey has spent six decades at The Methodist Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine and is credited with many medical firsts.

Upon receiving the award, DeBakey said, “Again, let me come back to my sense of gratitude and because of my sense of high treasure I have for my citizenship, since receiving this award, my cup runneth over.”

Only 196 Congressional Gold Medals have been awarded since 1776, when the first was given to George Washington. With this honor, Dr. DeBakey is in the company of Washington, Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison, Nelson Mandela, Jackie Robinson, Jonas Salk, Pope John Paul II and others whose lives have made an impact on the world.

United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart designed both the obverse and reverse of the Michael DeBakey Congressional Gold Medal.

For more information about Dr. Michael E. DeBakey and the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, including a list of his “firsts,” background on his achievements and photos to download, please see www.debakeyheartcenter.com.

President Bush, Dr. DeBakey and Nancy Pelosi
President George Bush and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi present the Congressional Gold Medal to famed heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey at a ceremony April 23 at the U.S. Capitol. (White House photo by Chris Greenberg).

President Bush Delivers Remarks
President George Bush delivers remarks during the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring Dr. Michael DeBakey at the U.S. Capitol. DeBakey, 99, a heart surgeon at The Methodist Hospital for more than six decades, was honored for a lifetime of innovation and achievement. (White House photo by Chris Greenberg).

Gold Medal front and back
Both sides of the Congressional Gold Medal presented to Dr. Michael DeBakey on April 23. The medal was designed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.