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R2 Crown & Tickey

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2017 | R2 CROWN & TICKEY – SOUTH AFRICAN INVENTIONS: The Heart Transplant

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The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first successful human-to-human heart transplant, performed by a team of around 30 surgeons – led by Dr Christiaan Neethling Barnard – in the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town on 3 December 1967. Dr Barnard (1922-2001) studied medicine at the University of Cape Town. He completed his surgical training in South Africa and the United States of America.

The recipient of the first transplanted human heart was Louis Washkansky, a 53-year-old with a debilitating heart condition. The donor heart came from Denise Ann Darvall, a 25-year-old who had been fatally injured and declared brain-dead after being hit by a car. Although Mr Washkansky survived for only 18 days after the operation before he died from double pneumonia, the transplant was a significant breakthrough for medical science.

2017 R2 Crown & Tickey - South African Inventions
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