S02 E02

Dueling Doctors

All stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. But not all stories are always told in that order.

Let’s rewind for a moment to 1951, which is when Dr. Michael DeBakey hired Dr. Denton Cooley as a surgeon at the Baylor College of Medicine. At the time, open heart surgery was just getting started. The pair became fast friends and DeBakey even went on to mentor Cooley.

Now fast-forward to 2007, and we’ll paint you a new picture: This time, of an aging DeBakey at his home, recovering from a risky aneurysm surgery. Cooley, moved by the thought of the old medical lion reaching the end of his prolific life, thinks back on his own hiring and partnering with DeBakey, and how their relationship had gone off the rails. Cooley drives to DeBakey’s house in hopes of making amends before DeBakey dies. And DeBakey won’t even come to the door. Maybe he couldn’t. Maybe he wouldn’t.

DeBakey’s wife was the one who answered the door that day. And she left Cooley standing there -- out front, no invitation to step inside -- for about 20 minutes before ultimately denying his request.