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Arizona Heart Institute Remembers Heart Surgery Pioneer Dr. Michael E. DeBakey
Date:7/14/2008

Dr. DeBakey was Mentor and Inspiration to Local Heart Surgeon

PHOENIX, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians and staff of Arizona Heart Institute remember Michael E. DeBakey, M.D. who died this past weekend at the age of 99. Dr. DeBakey, world-famous cardiovascular surgeon who performed the world's first coronary artery bypass surgery, was a teacher and mentor to Dr. Edward B. Diethrich, founder and medical director of the Arizona Heart Institute and Arizona Heart Hospital.

"I could not have realized my accomplishments without the guidance and mentorship I received from Dr. DeBakey," said Dr. Diethrich, who spent nearly seven years under the tutelage of Dr. DeBakey and Dr. Denton Cooley at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

After completing his thoracic and cardiovascular surgical residency in 1966, Dr. Diethrich continued his work with Dr. DeBakey as an assistant professor of surgery at Baylor. During this time, Dr. Diethrich stood right by Dr. DeBakey's side, first assisting in many of the earliest coronary artery bypass procedures, multiple organ transplantations and other revolutionary procedures which have since redefined the practice of cardiovascular medicine.

"Unless you were there, it is impossible to understand the enormous impact Dr. DeBakey had on young trainees and his associates," says Dr. Diethrich. "His demand for perfection in every aspect of cardiovascular medicine, research, teaching and clinical care set the standards which are followed to this day. He was a tough mentor but an awesome inspiration."

Wanting to open his own heart center, Dr. Diethrich founded the Arizona Heart Institute in Phoenix nearly 40 years ago. Since then, Dr. Diethrich has extended the skills and knowledge he developed under Dr. DeBakey's guidance to thousands of patients and physicians worldwide.

"It is perhaps unfortunate that Dr. DeBakey did not live to be 100, but we did celebrate his early birthday in May at the DeBakey Center in Houston," according to Diethrich. "Friends and colleagues from around the world paid tribute to him in a background of scientific and educational presentations -- an atmosphere which he always cherished. He will forever be remembered as the surgeon who moved cardiovascular medicine and surgery into the real world."


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SOURCE Arizona Heart Institute
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