Denton Cooley, American heart surgeon, Died at 96

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Denton Arthur Cooley was born on August 22, 1920, and died on November 18, 2016.

He was an American heart surgeon famous for performing the first implantation of a total artificial heart.

He was also founder and surgeon-in-chief of The Texas Heart Institute, chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, consultant in Cardiovascular Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital, and a clinical professor of Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

In 1941, he graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the Texas Cowboys, played on the basketball team, and majored in zoology.

Denton Cooley became interested in surgery through several pre-med classes he attended in college and began his medical education at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Cooley completed his medical degree and his surgical training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also completed his internship.

He spent some time at Johns Hopkins, he worked with Dr. Alfred Blalock and assisted in the first “Blue Baby” procedure to correct an infant’s congenital heart defect.

The Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society was founded at the Texas Heart Institute by the Residents and Fellows of Cooley to honor him, on March 13, 1972.

The founding President Philip S. Chua had envisioned this exclusive Society to foster academic, professional and personal camaraderie among cardiac surgeons in the United States and around the world through scientific seminars and symposia.

Now, there are more than 900 cardiac surgeons from more than 50 countries around the globe who are members of the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society.

Denton Cooley passed away at 96 years old.

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