Senate Democrats

Reid Statement on Awarding Congressional Gold Medal To Dr. Michael Debakey

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today at a ceremony awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. Michael DeBakey, one of the world’s most renowned cardiologists:

“Since 1776, the United States Congress has awarded its highest honor to poets, presidents, scholars, scientists, athletes and activists.  It is with humility that I share this stage with the 147th Gold medal recipient, Dr. Michael DeBakey.

“Dr. DeBakey has a rare gift: to see the world not as a maze of problems, but as a treasure map of solutions waiting to be discovered.  With the vision of an oracle, Dr. DeBakey has changed the world at every step along the path of his life.

“In medical school, when his fellow students were still learning the basics, Dr. DeBakey invented a breakthrough pump for blood transfusions that led to the first-ever open-heart operation.  Remember, this was 1931.

“During his service to our country in World War II, Dr. DeBakey observed the horrors of the battlefield and developed the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital – or MASH unit – which has saved countless lives of men and women wounded in combat.

“In his decades as the world’s most renowned cardiologist, Dr. DeBakey has carried the medical profession to new frontiers of progress.  Dr. DeBakey once said, ‘The traditional values of honesty, integrity, compassion and service are still relevant.  I believe all of us should strive to make some contribution, however small or grand, to society – and should observe the Golden Rule in living our lives.’

“In his century on earth, Dr. DeBakey’s contribution has been not just grand, but staggering.  Through his work, what he has taught and what he has invented, the number of lives he has saved will never be precisely known.  But each of those lives – their children and grandchildren, and every generation thereafter – will serve as a living, eternal tribute to the life’s work of Dr. Michael DeBakey.”