On April 23, 2008, Dr. Michael DeBakey received the Congressional Gold Medal for his legacy in heart surgery. President Bush said, “His legacy is holding the fragile and sacred gift of human life in his hands and returning it unbroken,” during the ceremony.
Dr. DeBakey invented many medical devices and operations, performed the first successful heart bypass operation and saved countless lives.
A little known fact is that his mother taught him to sew as a child and he used that skill in developing new operations to save lives. He said, “My mother’s teachings inspired me again in the early 1950s, when I designed a graft for replacing a diseased aorta and arteries. I chose the then-new synthetic cloth Dacron…. I drew the design on paper next, cut the fabric and finally put the prototype together at home on my wife’s Singer sewing machine.”