Christiaan Neethling Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon. He performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant operation in 1967. His technique saved the lives of ten babies in Cape Town and was adopted by surgeons in Britain and the U.S. He died in 2001 at the age of 78 after an asthma attack.
About Christiaan Barnard in brief
Christiaan Neethling Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon. He performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant operation in 1967. His technique saved the lives of ten babies in Cape Town and was adopted by surgeons in Britain and the U.S. He died in 2001 at the age of 78 after an asthma attack. Barnard studied medicine and practised for several years in his native South Africa. As a young doctor experimenting on dogs, Barnard developed a remedy for the infant defect of intestinal atresia. He retired in 1983 after developing rheumatoid arthritis in his hands which ended his surgical career. He became interested in anti-aging research, and in 1986 his reputation suffered when he promoted Glycel, an expensive \”anti-aging\” skin cream, whose approval was withdrawn by the United States Food and Drug Administration soon thereafter. The Christiaan Barnard Foundation, dedicated to helping underprivileged children throughout the world, was set up in his honour in 1994. The foundation has raised more than £1.5 million for charity. It is based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where Barnard trained for more than 40 years. The Barnard foundation is now based in the town of Beaufort West, Cape Province, Union of South Africa and is run by the Barnard family. The Foundation has raised over £2.5million for charity since its inception in 1994, including £1,000,000 from the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and £1 million from South Africa’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) Barnard is buried at the Cape Town Memorial Park, next to his wife, the former Maria Elisabeth de Swart.
He is survived by his three children, two sons and a daughter. He was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church and served as a missionary to mixed-race people. His father, Adam Barnard, was a minister in the DutchReformed Church. He also had a twin brother, Johannes, who was twelve years older than Chris Barnard. One of his four brothers, Abraham, died of a heart problem at the aged of three. He had also experienced the loss of a daughter who was stillborn and who had been the fraternal twin of Barnard’s older brother Johannes. In 1955, he travelled to the US and was introduced to the heart-lung machine, and Barnard transferred to the service run by open heart surgery pioneer Walt Lillehei. In 1958, he was appointed head of the Department of Experimental Surgery at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. In the same year he obtained a doctorate in medicine from the same university for a dissertation titled ‘The treatment of tuberculous meningitis’. After nine months and forty-three attempts, a puppy was able to reproduce some of the condition in the womb, after which it was born some two weeks later. This method was also adapted in a clinical setting and used in a set of clinical trials.