DeBakey buried in his scrubs

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">South African heart surgeon Dr. Christiaan Barnard poses wth Dr. Adrian Kantrowitz of Brooklyn, N.Y, left, and Dr. Michael DeBakey of Houston, Tex., right, while appearing on the CBS-TV program &#34;Face The Nation,&#34; in Washington, Dec. 24, 1967. &#40;AP Photo&#41;</span></div>
July 16, 2008 3:08:57 PM PDT
Pioneering heart surgeon Michael DeBakey was remembered at a memorial service Wednesday as not only a brilliant physician and medical innovator but also a friend and humanitarian. During a two-hour service at a Houston Catholic church, friends and colleagues detailed DeBakey's rise to becoming the father of modern heart surgery.

Mixed in with those accolades were heartfelt stories that detailed DeBakey's personal life, everything from his love of gumbo to his learning to play the clarinet in three months to his baby-sitting abilities.

DeBakey died Friday at the age of 99.

On Tuesday, he became the first Houston resident to get the honor of lying in repose at City Hall. His body was dressed in his familiar uniform: surgical scrubs and cap and white coat.

"I thought that was very neat. It's who he was," said Donna Roth, an attorney and one of the many people who said goodbye to DeBakey in Houston City Hall on Tuesday.

Paying their respects were patients who said they benefited from the cardiovascular surgical techniques he helped create, as well as many of Houston's social and political elite.

DeBakey's many accomplishments over his more than 70-year career include: inventing a major component of the heart-lung machine, which ushered in the era of open-heart surgery; developing artificial hearts and heart pumps to assist patients waiting for transplants; and helping create more than 70 surgical instruments.

His patients included the Duke of Windsor, the Shah of Iran, King Hussein of Jordan and Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon.

DeBakey, who served in the Army during World War II, was scheduled to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Friday.


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