The Doctor that Changed the Course of Russian History

The Times has an interesting story today on Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the American cardiologist that Boris Yeltsin called in for a consultation, who made the decision that the Russian president could indeed survive a by-pass operation. His Russian doctors had all advised against the procedure.

In doing so, it changed the course of history. Among other things, if Mr. Yeltsin had not been re-elected, he would never have had the opportunity to reach deep into the Russian bureaucracy to select Vladimir V. Putin, then an obscure functionary, as his successor. “All the doctors agreed Yeltsin would have died if he did not have the bypass,” Dr. DeBakey said in an interview yesterday. “No question about that, because he was deteriorating and going into early heart failure.”

It seems doubtful that the current president would react positively to this contention that he was put into power with the help of an American.