Conrad Ramsey Lam, M.D

Cardiac Surgeon, 1927

Conrad Ramsey Lam, M.D., was born in 1905 in Ogelsby, Texas. He graduated from Tahoka High School as valedictorian of his class and entered Simmons College in 1923. Throughout college, he was involved in the Cowboy Band and held several leadership positions on campus. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1927.

In 1927, Lam entered Yale University Medical School. He graduated in 1932 and became a surgical resident under Dr. Roy D. McClure, then Surgeon-in-Chief at Henry Ford Hospital. He eventually became chief resident under McClure and was given a staff position in 1938, making him the youngest staff-member of the Henry Ford Hospital at that time.

Lam quickly developed into a gifted surgeon and researcher. In 1940, Dr. Lam was the nation’s first physician to administer purified heparin to treat clotting of veins. In 1942 and 1943, Henry Ford Hospital was selected by the National Research Council as a trial site to test penicillin. Dr. Lam was one of two physicians at the hospital to distribute and study the drug.

By the early 1950s, Dr. Lam became an accomplished cardiac surgeon, making medical history by performing one of the first transplants of the heart’s main artery from one person to another. This surgery was the first successful open heart surgery in Michigan. The success of the surgery was due to the use of the heart-lung machine, a tool he also helped to pioneer. In 1980, he was named as one of the ten pioneers of cardiac surgery.

In 1941, he married Marian Smith. They had four children. Conrad Lam retired from active surgery in 1975 and became a consultant for the hospital. Dr. Lam received the Keeter Award from HSU in 1952, was honored with an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Hardin-Simmons in 1966, and received the Distinguished Alumni award in 1977.

Conrad Lam died in 1990 at the age of 85.

Inducted on April 5, 2002