World renowned heart surgeon leaves his footprints in Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/26/10

World renowned heart surgeon leaves his footprints in Lubbock

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By Kristin Beerman | email

Edited by Jon Bush | email 

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – More than 250 people showed up Friday at the Knipling Center to meet a world renowned heart surgeon and hear him talk of his career highlights.  Dr. Denton Cooley is best known as the first to implant an artificial heart.  In his 65-year career, he has performed more than 100,000 open heart surgeries at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.

For some, it was emotional to see Dr. Cooley here in Lubbock Friday.  Valerie Barley, a nurse at Covenant, says when she was a child, Dr. Cooley saved her life with open heart surgery when no other doctor would do it.

"It's just hard to explain because I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for him. It's overwhelming, such an honor to get to meet him," said Valerie Barley, R.N., a former patient of Dr. Cooley.

At age 89, Dr. Cooley appeared proud but humble as he spoke to the group Friday about his career accomplishments.  In fact, he said he is most proud of the many students who follow in his footsteps, including some who have made a difference here in Lubbock. 

"Some of my trainees have ended up here in Lubbock like Dr. Bricker and Dr. Springer. Dr. Salem went through our program there, also Dr. Haler," said Dr. Denton Cooley, M.D.  "So, this is sort of an outpost I think for the Texas Heart Institute.

Proceeds from the lunch Friday and an event held on Thrusday in honor of Dr. Cooley will go toward the purchase of new heart mapping technology for Covenant that will be the first of its kind in this region.

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