Winters WL Jr. Arthur C. Beall JR., M.D. August 17, 1929 – December 8, 2002. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal: April 2012, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 58-58.
The Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal was created in part to celebrate and perpetuate the education cornerstones of the Michael E. DeBakey legacy at The Methodist Hospital. Several significant players who participated in this education died before the creation of this journal. The memorial to the life of one of those significant players, Dr. Stanley Crawford, appeared in Volume 7, issue number 1. In this issue, a tribute to another of Dr. DeBakey’s associates — Dr. Arthur C. Beall Jr. — is presented. Other tributes to both cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists now deceased who played pivotal roles in the cardiovascular education and training programs at The Methodist Hospital will appear in subsequent issues.
— William L. Winters Jr., M.D. Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, The Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas
Arthur C. Beall Jr., was born in Atlanta and educated in the undergraduate and medical schools of Emory University. He completed a surgical internship at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, before coming to Baylor College of Medicine for a residency in general and then thoracic surgery. In 1956, Dr. Beall’s residency training was interrupted by 2 years of active duty as a naval officer and as assistant chief of Thoracic Surgery in the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California. There, he was privileged to work with Dr. Frank Gerbode at Stanford University, where he first began designing a prosthetic heart valve destined to one day be known as the “Beall Valve” — a ball valve design used extensively around the world from 1965 to 1970. When his residency was completed in 1950, he accepted an appointment as an instructor of surgery at Baylor in Houston, where he remained for the rest of his career. He was promoted in 1971 to professor of surgery, a position he held until 1999 when he became professor emeritus, a title he enjoyed until his death in 2002.
During his career, Dr. Beall was actively involved in conceptualizing improvements in cardiopulmonary bypass, priming solutions for the pump and filters to remove debris from the lines. His work resulted in more than 360 publications.
Dr. Beall served in a variety of roles during his Baylor career, including director of surgical laboratories, medical director of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program, and physician-in-charge of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Service. He helped organize a Baylorsponsored cardiac surgery program at the King Faisal Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. For 30 years, he oversaw the thoracic surgical residency program at Baylor and affiliated hospitals and served 5 years as the chief of the surgical service at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston. On the national and international fronts, he was president of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, the Alliance for Engineering in Medicine and Biology, the American College of Chest Physicians, and the Michael E. DeBakey International Surgical Society. He also served as vice president of the American College of Cardiology.
In his early years, Dr. Beall was active in the management of trauma at both the Jefferson Davis Hospital and Ben Taub General Hospital in Houston, introducing a number of new operative techniques. As many prominent surgeons were wont to do, he developed many cardiovascular surgical instruments and devices.
As a cardiologist, I had the privilege of working with him on several of his private patients during the 1970s. Among his many strong attributes, the one that has resonated with me long after his departure was his intense and dedicated personal care of each of his patients. He was a beloved mentor and colleague whose life achievements are well channeled in the lores of The Methodist Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine.