There probably aren’t many people who haven’t heard of pioneering cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley.
In 1968, Cooley performed the first successful human heart transplant in the United States. The following year, he became the first heart surgeon to implant an artificial heart in a man. During his career, he initiated surgical techniques to bypass clogged coronary arteries and to repair aortic aneurysms. He helped develop and perfect ways to repair and replace diseased heart valves. He helped to develop the heart/lung machines that make many modern cardiac surgical procedures possible. He built the Texas Heart Institute, and he and his associates have performed more than 100,000 open heart surgeries.
What you may not know is that Dr. Cooley received part of his training at UTMB, and still speaks fondly of his years in Galveston. Cooley completed his first two years of med school at UTMB from 1941 through 1942, at the onset of World War II. He transferred to John Hopkins in early 1943, where he earned his medical degree in 1944.
Dr. Cooley was inducted as a UTMB Legend in Medicine on Jan. 20. There will be more information about him and the award in the next Impact, but I have access to a video about it that I wanted to share with my blog readers. It was produced by one of our UTMB colleagues, Giselle Torres. Click on this file to watch the “Denton Cooley Legend” video: cooley1.ram (plays with Realplayer)