DeBakey Museum Under Construction

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey
A museum and library chronicling the life and career of Dr. Michael DeBakey is under construction. DeBakey is a pioneer of cardiovascular surgery and his papers and inventions will be archived in a new building at the Baylor College of Medicine. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports.

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Dr. Michael E. DeBakey is what some might call a living legend. The 98-year-old surgeon is responsible for some of the most important advances in cardiovascular health -- including the invention of artificial arteries, the heart-lung machine and an artificial heart. DeBakey joined the faculty of Baylor College of Medicine in 1948. Baylor Board Chairman Robert Allen.

"Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. Any place in the world that you travel, if you mention Houston or the subject of health comes up, his name is mentioned. This is truly a most remarkable and extraordinary command."

DeBakey made his first public appearance after being hospitalized for an aortic aneurysm, an often lethal disease. DeBakey spoke to a group of donors, Baylor faculty and students and joked about what he called his medical odyssey.

The DeBakey Library and Museum will house more than 3,000 of the surgeon's papers, along with many of his inventions and the treadle sewing machine he used to create the first Dacron artificial artery. DeBakey says he hopes the library will be a place where people explore the documented knowledge about heart disease, but also how much lack of knowledge remains about the human body.

"So it's a source of inspiration, a source of scholastic activity. And I'm, of course, deeply appreciative of my name being associated with this."

The 65,000 square foot facility will also feature permanent and rotating exhibits, including a mock operating room displaying many of DeBakey's medical inventions. The facility will cost $40 million. The Cullen Trust for Higher Education donated $10 million toward the project and the DeBakey Medical Foundation matched that gift.

"God bless this library and its support in the future. We're very, very grateful. Thank you."

In addition to the new library and museum, DeBakey is also the namesake for the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans' Affairs Hospital and the DeBakey High School for Health Professions. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...