|Honorary degree recipient, cardiovascular surgeon DeBakey remembered|
One of the most renowned recipients of an honorary degree from the University of North Dakota is being remembered as a master educator, administrator and a true medical pioneer.
Dr. Michael Ellis DeBakey died last week at age 99 in Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, where he had practiced and taught medicine since 1949.
In 1990, DeBakey headlined a list of honorary degree recipients at UND. He received an honorary doctorate of science from the University. UND still features DeBakey with others, such as philosopher Mortimer Adler and President John F. Kennedy, as notables who've also received honorary degrees from the University.
Incidentally, the former president, Kennedy, was a patient of DeBakey, as were Presidents Johnson and Nixon, the Duke of Windsor, the Shah of Iran, and King Hussein of Jordan, according to the Houston Chronicle.
"He was one of the most influential and productive cardiovascular surgeons in the world," said Joshua Wynne, executive associate dean of academic affairs/faculty affairs at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
DeBakey was eyed as a gifted student in the 1930s at Tulane University Medical School, where he invented a specialized pump that allowed physicians to open up a patients' chests to perform operations. His early advances paved the way for others to develop more minimally invasive heart and vascular surgeries.
Up until his death last Tuesday, DeBakey still was listed as a cardiovascular surgeon in the institution that bears his name, the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center. Earlier this year, DeBakey received the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the nation's highest honors.
"He was a pioneer in surgery of the heart and blood vessels. He helped develop the field of cardiac assist and transplantation," Wynne said. "He educated a generation of cardiovascular researchers and clinicians. He personally performed more cardiovascular operations than almost any other surgeon in the world."