In the initial meeting, the relaxed, soothing accent of southern culture woos you to the man. Somehow, the image and accomplishments of a Michael DeBakey do not go with this gentle manner of speech. However, it is DeBakey and he has all the attributes, habits and no doubt foibles that make for greatness, and greatness best describes the career of this world-renowned heart surgeon.
With the confidence of an engineer, the Lake Charles, Louisiana native developed the roller pump for the heart-lung machine in 1932 four years after entering Tulane Medical School. This was merely the first of DeBakey achievements: the Dacron artificial grafts for cardiac bypass surgery; the pioneering first efforts in the development of an artificial heart; and numerous instruments and procedures used in heart surgery.