Today in History
December 03, 1967
Christiaan Barnard, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital, is recognized for bringing open-heart surgery to South Africa, improving on the design of artificial heart valves, but mostly for completing the first human heart transplant. After much experimenting with heart transplants in dogs, Barnard, with a team of 20 surgeons, replaces the ailing heart of Louis Washkansky, 55, a South African grocer, with that of Denise Darvall, 24, a fatally injured accident victim on December 3, 1967. The nine-hour surgery is deemed a success—"I am a new Frankenstein," quips Washkansky—but complications ensue and the patient dies 18 days later from double pneumonia. More than 70,000 hearts have been transplanted since the pioneering surgery, with some lasting more than 20 years.
Today's Feature History Article
Challenged to prove his germ theory of disease, Louis Pasteur shaped the terrain on which the battle against anthrax is being fought
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