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Michael Ellis DeBakey

DeBakey, Michael Ellis (dəbāˈkē) [key], 1908–2008, American surgeon, b. Lake Charles, La. While still at Tulane medical school (M.D., 1932), DeBakey developed the roller pump, which later became an essential component of the heart-lung machine, and he later made refinements in the technique of blood transfusions. During World War II he helped develop what became the mobile army surgical hospital (MASH), allowing treatment of war casualties near the front lines. In 1948, DeBakey became head of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and his work there made that institution an important center for medical research and education. Five years later, he made medical history by performing the first successful carotid endarterectomy. A pioneer in Dacron grafts for blood vessels, DeBakey revolutionized the surgery of aneurysms. In 1966 he successfully implanted a ventricular assist device (see heart, artificial) in a patient; it was removed after the patient's heart strengthened. He also led (1968) the team of surgeons that performed the first multiple organ harvest and transplant, in which four patients received organs from a single donor. DeBakey, who received a Lasker Award in 1963, was president of Baylor College of Medicine from 1969 to 1979 and chancellor from 1979 to 1996; he retired as head of surgery in 1993.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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