Heart pioneer DeBakey survived own surgery

December 25, 2006

Pioneering U.S. heart surgeon Michael DeBakey is slowly getting back to work at age 98 after undergoing a surgery he himself developed.

Houston-based DeBakey was released from a hospital in September after becoming the oldest patient to survive surgery to repair a torn aorta, an outcome that proved elderly patients could weather the procedure.

The New York Times said Monday DeBakey, who also perfected coronary bypass surgery, was stricken about a year ago and admitted he never called his own doctor let alone 911.

"If it becomes intense enough, you're perfectly willing to accept cardiac arrest as a possible way of getting rid of the pain," he told The Times.

But following surgery and a long rehab period, DeBakey is working one day a week at

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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