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American Heart Association Congratulates Pioneer Heart Surgeon for Being Named Recipient of Congressional Gold Medal Award

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is pleased that President Bush has signed legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Michael DeBakey. The medal is the nation's highest civilian award.

DeBakey, the heart surgeon who pioneered coronary bypass surgery and chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, received the association's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and its Gold Heart Award in 1968. He's also a longtime member of the association's Council on Cardiovascular Surgery.

"This recognition of DeBakey's lifesaving contributions to the field of cardiovascular surgery is well-deserved," said Daniel W. Jones, M.D., president, American Heart Association. "We are delighted that Congress and the president have bestowed this honor on an individual who has changed the course of heart disease treatment with innovative surgical techniques."

DeBakey is known worldwide for his work in advancing coronary bypass surgery and using a partial artificial heart for patients who could not be weaned from a heart-lung machine after open-heart surgery. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 and the National Medal of Science in 1985.

DeBakey was elected the first president of the Baylor University College of Medicine in 1969. He served on the university's staff from 1948 to 1993.

U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and U.S. Representatives Al Green (D-TX), Michael Burgess (R-TX) and John Culberson (R-TX) spearheaded efforts in Congress to pass the legislation.

SOURCE American Heart Association
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