As a child in the 50s and 60s I remember the awesome news of a doctor who was working on artificial parts for hearts, a most revolutionary idea back then! I know that he sewed the first Dacron heart valves on his wife’s sewing machine. In an interview in later years he credited his skill at surgery techniques to his Mother…who was an excellent sewer and taught him how to handle a needle. I remember learning that he was working with the government during WWII and developed the first MASH units to treat soldiers on the front lines. So many, many contributions and inventions came from his own heart. So many lives saved by one man’s burning desire to serve.
Dr. Debakey would have been 100 years old in September. He didn’t quite make it to the century mark, but his 75 years of contributions to medicine and humanity will live on for centuries more. In my pocket of quotes I have kept one of DeBakey’s. It is, somehow, a fitting epitaph. “The traditional values of honesty, integrity, compassion and service are still relevant. I believe all of us should strive to make some contribution, however small or grand, to society and should observe The Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) in living our lives. If that rule were universally observed, we would have attained that precious goal – peace.” Rest in peace, Doctor.