Doctor's donations saves kids' lives
By VALERIE SWEETEN
Dr. Thomas DeBauche, cardiologist at Cypress Cardiology PA, volunteered to do physicals for Cypress-Fairbanks ISD athletes and ended up saving lives.
DeBauche thought the athletes needed more than a physical.
He donated 10 electrocardiogram machines to the district and trained school staff to provide free EKGs to over 2,000 athletes.
DeBauche found students in need of immediate medical care.
DeBauche performs all of the athletes' EKG readings himself and reports his findings to the school, which passes them on to the students.
His work from the past two years was recognized by the American Heart Association at their annual conference held in Orlando in November.
National news organizations such as National Public Radio, ABC, NBC and Bloomberg presented the findings throughout the U.S. and in 13 foreign countries.
Of the 2,057 athletes who received an EKG, 186 were found to have abnormal results. All but 13 of them received follow up echocardiograms.
The conditions uncovered include right ventricular cardiomyopathy, co-arctation of the aorta, Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, mitral valve prolapse, pulmonary hypertension, bicuspid aortic valves and vascular regurgitation.
Some of the students with abnormal EKG readings visited Dr. Peter Razeghi, DeBauche's partner.
Razeghi, a Kingwood resident, said DeBauche's efforts are the result of a great idea."
There is a low incidence of sudden cardiac death, but when it happens, it is devastating. I feel really fortunate to work with him. He's highly experienced and very interested in helping the community," Razeghi said.
Arnold Thomas, head athletic trainer for CFISD, said DeBauche's volunteerism resulted in an invaluable service.
If you save one life, it's worth it. It's very rewarding. He's so concerned with the health of athletes. Our goal is to scan students and find out who is at risk. Dr. DeBauche is such a pleasure to work with. He's accessible to the kids and anyone else who calls him. He's very caring," Thomas said.
Students are given permission slips and brief history questionnaires prior to the screenings.
Results are transmitted electronically to DeBauche for his analysis.
DeBauche, an Ohio native, was raised as the middle child of five children to Louis and Mary Helen DeBauche.
He graduated from Ohio State University in 1970 with a microbiology degree and went on to serve in the U.S. Army as a corpsman until 1972.
After serving in the Army, DeBauche graduated from the Medical College of Ohio in 1975.
The University of Southern California-Los Angeles, the University of Utah, and Stanford University were part of DeBauche's educational journey until 1979 where he specialized in cardiology.
DeBauche moved to Houston from California and joined Baylor College of Medicine to do his fellowship, where he conducted research until 1982.
In 1983, DeBauche opened Cypress Cardiology, formerly at 11301 Fallbrook Drive.
When his children reached high school level sports, DeBauche found a way to contribute his skills by volunteering to conduct physicals.
I started finding kids with bad hearts. I started doing screenings and found it wasn't fair to the other schools. I went to the superintendent and got it extended to all the high schools," DeBauche said.
The results of his screenings surprised him.
We know we found two individuals that we are pretty sure would be dead. A lot of the others were not quite as serious, but these are problems they're now aware of. Some of these things start to show up in puberty," said DeBauche.
DeBauche's next goal is to begin screenings in more districts throughout the Houston area.
We could save hundreds of lives a year by doing this. We've found a way to do it cheap so we could try to get it across Texas and the nation," DeBauche said.
In his free time, DeBauche enjoys playing soccer and spending time with his wife, Lisa DeBauche, and their five children.
For details, visit www.cypresscardiologypa.com.
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