Senate Passes Landrieu-Sponsored Congressional Gold Medal Honor for Tulane-Educated Lake Charles Native
Legendary surgeon, teacher and inventor has saved innumerable lives.
WASHINGTON - The United States Senate last night passed legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., and Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, and John Cornyn, R-Texas, to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Michael DeBakey, Chancellor Emeritus of the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Director of the DeBakey Heart Center at Baylor. A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Dr. DeBakey earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans, later serving on the Tulane faculty.
"With roots in Lake Charles and education in New Orleans, Dr. DeBakey has gone on to a distinguished career of pioneering achievement in medicine and a profound dedication to improving the lives of countless Americans," Sen. Landrieu said. "Louisiana is proud to call him one of her own."
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian honor which may be bestowed by the United States Congress, and is awarded to individuals who perform outstanding deeds or acts of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States.
"Dr. DeBakey is a legendary surgeon, teacher and inventor who has devoted his entire life to the health and well-being of others," Sen. Hutchison said. "His contributions to society are immeasurable, and many Americans live longer, healthier lives as a result of his commitment to cardiovascular medicine."
"It's fitting that we honor Dr. DeBakey for his legendary contributions to the advancement of medical care. His work has made a difference in the lives of countless Texans and people across the globe," Sen. Cornyn said. "He has dedicated his life to serving others and I appreciate our Senate colleagues for passing this important recognition."
Dr. DeBakey's innovative research and surgical techniques revolutionized the field of cardiovascular medicine. He is recognized internationally for inventing and refining several medical devices and procedures used daily to save lives. Two of his most significant inventions include the roller pump-an essential component of the heart-lung machine-and the DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device (VAD)-an apparatus implanted into the heart to increase blood flow.
He helped develop the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) units that saved thousands of lives during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and helped establish the Veteran's Administration Medical Center Research System. Dr. DeBakey has served as an advisor to almost every president of the past fifty years, and he has received numerous awards from educational institutions, civic organizations and governments worldwide, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction in 1969.