Medicine: Surgeon's Progress

Michael Ellis DeBakey. son of a Lebanese immigrant who had made good in Lake Charles, La., wanted to be a physician—specifically, a surgeon. Soon after graduation from Tulane University School of Medicine, interning at New Orleans' vast Charity Hospital, young Dr. DeBakey invented a pump that he hoped might some day relieve or replace the heart during delicate surgery. That was in 1932, and the inventive intern was about 20 years ahead of his time.

With driving intensity and singleness of purpose, Surgeon DeBakey worked all day every day and half the night (since...

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