- Barnard, Christiaan Neethling
▪ 2002South African surgeon (b. Nov. 8, 1922, Beaufort West, S.Af.—d. Sept. 2, 2001, Paphos, Cyprus), performed the first transplant of a heart from one human to another (1967), the first “piggyback” heart transplant, in which a second heart was inserted in order to aid the patient's own weak one (1974), the first transplantation of an animal's heart into a human, again to assist the patient's heart and give it time to heal (1977), and the first heart-lung transplant (1981). His early transplants were daring and controversial, in part because they set a precedent for the consideration of brain death as acceptable for the harvesting of organs for transplant and in part because he flouted the racial barriers of apartheid. They also gained the handsome and charismatic doctor instant fame both professionally and socially, and he became an international celebrity and member of the jet set. Barnard graduated from the University of Cape Town in 1946, spent some time in private practice, and then returned to the university to conduct research. He earned his M.D. degree in 1953, became a surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, and in 1956–58 studied at the University of Minnesota, earning a Ph.D. There Barnard developed his interest and expertise in open-heart surgery, and when he returned (1958) to South Africa, he took a U.S. government-donated heart-lung machine with him. At Groote Schuur he formed one of the world's finest heart-surgery units, where he had especially good results with valve surgery and with correcting children's congenital cardiac problems and where he also began experimenting with heart transplantation, generally in dogs. Although Barnard's first heart-transplant patient died of double pneumonia 18 days after surgery because his dosage of immunosuppressant drugs was too high, his second patient lived more than 19 months. More experience and the development of better antirejection drugs eventually made heart transplant surgery standard, and some 100,000 such operations had been performed by late 2001. Barnard suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and in 1983 was forced to retire from the practice of surgery. He thereafter included conducting research in Oklahoma, running his farm in South Africa, and writing a weekly newspaper column among his activities. In addition to the autobiography One Life (1969; with Curtis Bill Pepper)—whose royalties were donated to the Chris Barnard Foundation, which supported research and made it possible for children from all over the world to travel to South Africa for heart surgery—Barnard also wrote papers for scholarly journals and a number of other books, including another autobiography, The Second Life (1993), such works on health topics as Heart Attack: You Don't Have to Die (1971), The Arthritis Handbook (1984), and 50 Ways to a Healthy Heart (2001), and several novels.
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