Centennial Physicians Lecture
Dr. Michael Ellis DeBakey is known internationally as a cardiovascular surgical pioneer. First and foremost a surgeon, he was also an inventor, a scholar and a medical statesman. In a career that spanned seven decades, he developed more than 50 surgical instruments and many of today’s standard surgical treatments for cardiac and vascular disease. He served four years in the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and received the Legion of Merit Award in 1945 for work that led to the development of mobile surgical hospitals, known as MASH units. MASH units were first deployed during the Korean War, using airplanes and helicopters to bring wounded soldiers from front-line care centers to surgical hospitals. A soldier who made it to a MASH unit had a remarkable 97% chance of survival.
Dr. DeBakey further organized a medical center system to treat soldiers returning from war and proposed a systematic follow-up of veterans with certain medical problems. These institutions are now known respectively as the Veterans’ Administration (VA) Medical Center System and VA’s Medical Research Program.
Over the course of his career, Dr. DeBakey performed an estimated 60,000 surgeries, trained thousands of surgeons and authored or co-authored approximately 1,300 published articles. We obviously remember Dr. DeBakey for the tremendous advancements he made in his field. But we also remember him because he famously called Houston Methodist a “hospital with a soul.”
We also recognized current and past winners of the John W. Overstreet, MD Award, presidents of the medical staff, department and division leaders, as well as a list of 100 notable physicians of Houston Methodist’s first century of service to our patients. These notable men and women helped make Houston Methodist what it is today.