“Goodbye” Christiaan Barnard Died 2 September 2001
Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 1922 – 2 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first successful human-to-human heart transplant.
The operation took place on 3 December 1967, assisted by his brother, Marius Barnard, lasting nine hours and using a team of thirty people. The patient, Louis Washkansky, was a 54-year-old grocer, suffering from diabetes and incurable heart disease. The donor heart came from a young woman, Denise Darvall, who had been rendered brain damaged in an accident on 2 December 1967, while crossing a street in Cape Town. Rather than wait for Darvall’s heart to stop beating, Christiaan injected potassium into her heart to paralyse it and render her technically dead. Washkansky survived the operation and lived for 18 days, but succumbed to pneumonia as he was taking immunosuppressive drugs.