Pioneering Surgeon and Longtime NLM Supporter Michael DeBakey Dies at 99

Michael DeBakey, MD, one of the great pioneers of cardiovascular surgery, and an early and fervent supporter of the NLM, died in Houston on Friday, July 11 of natural causes. He was 99.

DeBakey was chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, director of The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, and senior attending surgeon of The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

DeBakey, whose innovative heart and blood vessel operations made him one of the most influential doctors of the 20th century, was considered by many to be “the greatest surgeon ever,” according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

He was also one of NLM’s greatest supporters. DeBakey played a pivotal role in the creation of the Library in the 1950s and of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, in the 1960s. A visionary member and chair of the NLM Board of Regents and several other NLM advisory panels, he helped transform the Library into the world’s leading repository of medical information.

Remarked NLM Director Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, “Dr. DeBakey was truly a Renaissance man of medicine. He knew how to ask the most basic, common-sense questions that got to the heart of a matter, and he saw the whole picture.”