Dr. Michael E. DeBakey was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on September 7, 1908,
and I had the honor of talking with him for over 3 hours in his conference room in
Houston, Texas, on September 18, 1996. During the interview, Dr. DeBakey reminisced
about his earlier life and a few of his accomplishments. There were only 2 interruptions
during the interview and each was a telephone call from President Clinton's physician.
Each call concerned President Boris Yeltsin's grave illness and Dr. DeBakey's September
22, 1996, planned trip to Russia to consult about the President's cardiac disease.
At the end of the interview, Dr. DeBakey took me into his “manuscript room” where
he was working on a paper on 30-year outcomes on about 30,000 patients he had followed
after they had had various operative procedures involving the coronary, carotid, renal,
and peripheral arteries and the abdominal aorta. For someone who had already published
about 1,500 articles plus several books, he was as excited about this latest manuscript
as most physicians when seeing their first manuscript published. Furthermore, although
Dr. DeBakey did most of the talking during the interview, his stories making me laugh
on many occasions, at the end of the nearly 4-hour interview, he appeared to have
more energy left than I did and all I did was ask a few questions.
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