Thursday, April 24, 2008

Honors Well Deserved

Two American men were honored yesterday. One, Dr. Michael DeBakey, a pioneer in the medical field and the other, Gen. David Petraeus, a pioneer in the field of military counterintelligence to fight global terrorism.

"His truest legacy is not inscribed on a medal or etched into stone. It is written on the human heart. His legacy is the un-lost hours with family and friends who are still with us because of his healing touch. His legacy is grandparents who lived to see their grandchildren." That, a quote from President Bush as Dr. Debakey was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. The 99 year old Houston cardiac surgeon told Congress to over the Medicare and Medicaid systems by using the model established by the Veterans Administration's medical system. Dr. DeBakey helped to set up the system after WWII.

Two years ago Dr. DeBakey had aortic repair surgery, performed by a surgeon trained by him, and has sufficiently recovered enough to trade his wheelchair for his motorized scooter at the reception at the Library of Congress honoring him. He and his wife made it clear to those around him that he intends to remain active. He said he looked forward to returning to Houston and driving around in his black Porsche. He has operated on more than 60,000 patients during his carer and trained thousands of doctors. "His legacy is holding the fragile and sacred gift of human life in his hands and returning it unbroken," Bush said.

He is a pioneer in the workings of blood pumps and for his contributions to developing MASH units for battlefield casualties. As the article in today's Houston Chronicle points out, DeBakey's work led to the first successful coronary bypass surgery in 1964.

In 1969, President Johnson honored DeBakey with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

General Petraeus was named chief of U.S. Central Command which is tasked with overseeing operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, besides Iraq, by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. As far as a new administration coming in soon, Conrad Crane, director of the U.S. Army Military History Institute said, "He will give his best advice about what he thinks is the right strategy. He won't shape any recommendations based on the political winds. He will make his recommendations based on the reality on the ground."

Good to know who will be in command. General Petraeus is an American hero and deserving of the promotion. Sweet, in light of the personal attacks lodged against him by the defeatist far left in today's political world.

3 comments:

Beverly said...

What a wonderful post to read about such a pioneer in the health industry. I'm so thankful to be living in a day when medical technology has made it possible for people to live fruitful lives, when years ago they would have gone already.

Good for Petraeus too.

Vincent Harris said...

Karen-

I work for Sen. Cornyn and would enjoy catching up via e-mail whenever you get a chance.

My e-mails vincent@johncornyn.com.

Thanks a bunch!

SuZan said...

Great post. Pioneer indeed! I remember stories from my best friend's mom, who traslated for DeBakey when he would go to Mexico City.

He is amazing!