William L. Winters Jr. (2011) Manus James O’Donnell, M.D. 1929–2010. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal: July 2011, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp. 56-56.
One of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey’s favorite cardiologists, Dr. Manus James O’Donnell, died March 22, 2010 at age 80. Manus, as he was known to his friends, remained an Irishman to the core during his years in Houston, retaining proudly his Irish brogue. Manus was born in Killough County, Ireland, on May 5, 1929. He attended St. Malachy’s College (class of 1945) in Belfast, Ireland, before entering medical school in Queens University, Belfast, graduating in 1955. He then served an internship at the Mater Infirmorum Hospital in Belfast, followed by a medical residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital completed in 1958. During Manus’s cardiology fellowship at the Royal Victoria Hospital, he engaged in animal experiments using the Lillehei Dewall pump oxygenator with Dr. Frank Partridge, who was preparing to start a human open-heart surgery program. From 1960 to 1965, he served as a principal registrar in medicine and collected numerous scholastic honors on his way to becoming a member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1961.
Manus James O’Donnell, M.D. 1929–2010
In 1965, he accepted a fellowship in cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine and moved his family to Houston, Texas, their permanent residence thereafter. Upon completing the one-year cardiology fellowship, he accepted an appointment as assistant professor in medicine at Baylor with an active staff appointment at The Methodist Hospital, where he remained until his retirement in 2003. His professional career centered around his teaching and clinical responsibilities at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital. Starting in 1975, he directed the activities of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at The Methodist Hospital for many years. He shared with several other cardiologists the responsibilities managing the patients of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey — an intellectual and physical challenge every day of the week. His good humor, ready smile, and Irish brogue endeared him to his colleagues and patients alike. His favorite relaxation was golf played all over the world, wherever there might be found a golf course.
He left behind his wife of 50 years, Patricia, and his daughter, Phiona, plus two sisters and several nieces and nephews. Manus was a delightful colleague and a compassionate physician embodied in a very fine human being. He is one of those upon whose shoulders was built the foundation of The Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center as it stands today. He is missed, but his spirit remains enshrined within the walls of this Center.