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Jennifer Rosenberg

First Heart Transplant

By December 3, 2003

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On December 3, 1967, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard conducted the first heart transplant on 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky. The surgery was a success. However, the medications that were given to Washkansky to prevent his immune system from attacking the new heart also supressed his body's ability to fight off other illnesses. Eighteen days after the operation, Washkansky died of double pneumonia.


May 9, 2006 at 11:21 am
(1) girl says:

that must jsut suck do be so successfull and then die 18 days l8ter

May 10, 2006 at 2:03 pm
(2) meagan says:

that was amazing that he had a enough guts to do that. he was very brave. i couldn’t do that.

June 22, 2006 at 6:53 am
(3) kolp says:

he was very brave because i think that surgery was very hard.

September 16, 2006 at 10:02 pm
(4) Nizar Manji says:

The first transplant was really done by a black guy in South Africa although Dr Barnard was with them. The Toronto Star printed this story about a year back. Regardless, congratulations for the first heart transplant.
God bless…..ameen

September 16, 2006 at 10:09 pm
(5) Nizar Manji says:

sorry for this but here is the copy of one article from the internet:



September 21, 2006 at 4:32 am
(6) naomi says:

awwww thats amazin but such a disaster that he died

November 17, 2006 at 12:40 pm
(7) Abreanna Esparza says:

THAT SUCKS THAT HE DIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

December 7, 2006 at 11:32 am
(8) Susan Friesen says:

I am absolutely thankful to Christiaan Bernard and his skills. I’m a mom of 2 daughter with heart transplants. Without that risk to conduct the first heart transplant, my two daughters wouldn’t be here today.

December 15, 2006 at 4:29 pm
(9) woko says:

I was very moved by the radio 4 play this week about this operation. Lou must have been a very brave man.

January 17, 2007 at 7:59 am
(10) jon says:

quite cool amazing how he had the guts to try that and quite rubbish how the guy died!!

January 28, 2007 at 11:27 pm
(11) raffie says:

wahahahahahahhahahahahahhahaha.gud job..

April 26, 2007 at 11:36 am
(12) Alicia says:

cool im doing a report thingy on this So i like this page

May 15, 2007 at 2:23 pm
(13) jared says:

thats amazing!

June 26, 2007 at 2:50 pm
(14) alexnadra says:

it is amazing that you can transplant a heart and very well done to the doctor, who must have been very confidenet. Lewis must have been brave and it must have been so annoying that he died after. I am 11

June 26, 2007 at 2:53 pm
(15) emily says:

well done doctor. i am 5

June 27, 2007 at 2:49 pm
(16) Holly says:

you rock doctor thingy

September 9, 2007 at 12:39 pm
(17) Kevin nall says:

GOD bless

September 9, 2007 at 12:40 pm
(18) bob nall says:

god loves u 4 eva

October 18, 2007 at 1:19 am
(19) JML stex says:


October 29, 2007 at 11:26 am
(20) Tim says:

Both the doctor and patient are hero’s that has led the path for Heart transplantion for those of us later on. If you are waiting for Transplant, death is close, as a successful recipient 3 years after transplantation, the miracle of of the
Gift from your donor, God’s intervention, Medical community support and Family support is all prime in your success. I cannot be more honored by the pioneers that went before.

February 11, 2008 at 5:37 am
(21) Lydia and Beth says:

well done! bravo bravo.. we are doing a history powerpoint on heart transplants and this is a great help! we love youu!

February 27, 2008 at 9:40 am
(22) m3 says:

OMG so sad that he died, bless his soul wz a brave man. bless d doctor as well lead d way 4 alot of people 2 live. BLESS D DOCTORS AND BRAVE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD. peace 2 d earth :-)

March 13, 2008 at 4:45 pm
(23) chantell says:

okay i absolutely love this story it makes me want to become a heart surgeon as well. im doing a oral report on this because i love the medical field. and im only 15!!!

and i respect that man so much!! :]

March 18, 2008 at 11:17 am
(24) Clash says:

Thats not great that he died. Well Im looking up alot of articles today well playing WOW. Hope 2 see more comments soon.

March 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(25) jESSii xx3 says:

ii’M dOiiNG A REPORt ON thE lAtE 1960′S fOR lANGUAGE ARtS ClASS.. thX thiiS PAGE ANd thE liiNkS PEOPlE lEft iiN thEiiR COMMENtS hELPEd.. [xo.]

April 14, 2008 at 8:46 am
(26) amy troung says:

iyaa i’m amy troung i think there both very brave people n i had a heart transplant to and i am very thankful that they risked that coz maybe if they did’nt risk that that day i myt not be ere now =p

May 1, 2008 at 12:38 pm
(27) LUCY says:

That mst have been such a relief for doc after the surgery!I wonder if he regreted having surgery.

May 9, 2008 at 5:24 am
(28) sabeen sheikh says:

atleast they both tried..

June 30, 2008 at 11:30 am
(29) Becky ♥ says:

WOW! hes a brave person fo’ tryin that fo’ 1st time everr. But not a v.good fing he died. bless him..
Im doing homework on this good help. Thanks.
( :


July 18, 2008 at 8:58 am
(30) Pip-luv's-u!!X says:

Luv this story, well hardcore .
sad he died T.T’ ,

August 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm
(31) ian says:

I met him in 1973 in Cape Town and gave him a tour of our ship. Yea it sucked that his patient died. He was not discouraged. His pioneering saved my life when 33 years later I had a heart transplant. life is wierd.

September 9, 2008 at 10:51 am
(32) pr13 says:

i just done a report on this

October 8, 2008 at 10:55 am
(33) bouncy says:

yea that must suck ..

October 14, 2008 at 6:12 pm
(34) brendan says:

way to go but it is sad tht the man died

December 1, 2008 at 7:10 am
(35) Norman says:

I met Doctor Barnard in 1968 when he visited my ship H.M.S. Hermes during our visit to Cape Town. He was a charming, friendly non pompous man of great character. He enjoyed a tot of navy rum (neat)with us and left a happy man.

January 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm
(36) Delcia says:

Sorry but the FIRST HEART TRANSPLANT was done in Mississippi by Dr James Hardy. It happened in 1963 when he transplanted a Chimpanzee heart to a human. If you want to retitle your First it should be first human to human heart transplant.

February 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm
(37) Daniela says:

This Is So Sad

March 9, 2009 at 9:49 am
(38) Trudy says:

THE FIRST HEART AND LUNG TRANSPLANT WAS DONE IN JACKSON,MS. at the University of Ms. Medical Center by DR. J.Hardy.

March 23, 2009 at 11:55 am
(39) danni says:


March 31, 2009 at 3:23 pm
(40) ashlin says:

i think that if you need a heart transplant then you dont need a new one god has a reason he wants you and he needs you to die. you shouldnt try to stop your dieing you should just let god have you!

April 27, 2009 at 7:11 pm
(41) aly says:

I would do that to save lives if I had to. I also planned to be a organ donater when I die

May 9, 2009 at 9:26 am
(42) elizabeth says:

That was absolutely amazing!!!!!!!
I could never do anything like that!!!
Thanx a lot you helped me with my homework!!!!!
Do you like my rabbit????
xxxxxxxx :)

June 17, 2009 at 7:20 am
(43) tagauli says:

who is the donor?

plss reply,,


September 25, 2009 at 11:39 am
(44) a boy who does noot want his name to be revealed because he doesnt because he does not want it to be says:

thanks for helping me with my homework lo!

November 9, 2009 at 10:37 am
(45) kids says:

Bummer that he died after living!

November 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm
(46) Lara Barnard says:

Hi, u guys arn’t going to beleive me but, christiaan Barnard is my father, im being dead serious!!! and he did do the 1st heart transplant and the 1st donour was a girl named Denise Duvall. If you dont beleive that im his daughter u can search the internet, but im honest, i promise u i am his daughter. he was a great dad and doctor, i was 4 when he dies i am now 12. GOD BLESS all doctors!!!

December 7, 2009 at 12:02 am
(47) chicken says:


December 7, 2009 at 3:19 am
(48) sonia says:

i wud have been definately happy to be the first person in the world to go thru a heart surgery but wud have lost ma patience while going in the theatre n wud have definately passed away b4 the surgery.the man was the strongest no doubt!!!

January 7, 2010 at 10:55 am
(49) shannon says:

why did the person need this done :(

February 9, 2010 at 5:28 am
(50) Jessica says:

Awww F E E L so sorry

February 11, 2010 at 4:05 pm
(51) kmh-r says:

cool i saw a video of it

February 13, 2010 at 3:11 am

HiHiHi thats very sad but i am hyper so i dot have any sympathy im very sorrry

February 13, 2010 at 8:16 am
(53) mo says:

lol my grandad helped with that lol

February 16, 2010 at 9:27 am
(54) I Have Many Names says:

I saw that it said the man was 53 but I keep seeing that he was 55..I’m doing a project on heart transplants for my nursing class…so yeah :) lol…umm…bye! lol

March 7, 2010 at 7:08 pm
(55) Jirisa says:

poor dude

June 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm
(56) donnell says:

i think thatz kool for that to happen in such a poor country it should have been bigger than wat was made out of it.

June 24, 2010 at 8:16 am
(57) a person who is secret with her name...because of people around says:

cool!!!!!!!!!!! so sad he died :( huhuh ……………………………wahahahahaha/….don’t care anyways…hehe

June 29, 2010 at 5:19 pm
(58) sam says:

hope 57 has a heart prob, and need a new heart as they don’t have a decent one now , how coud you be such a *&*@%

August 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm
(59) herby says:

Hi there. I’m trying to find out who all were on the first heart transplant team

September 6, 2010 at 11:55 am
(60) saz says:

omg how brave of him 2 do that!! i coudnt do that just thinking about it would make me sick!!! lol :O

September 21, 2010 at 1:28 am
(61) antoineze says:

I understand there was a lot of opposition with performing this first heart transplant, opposition saying that he was trying to play God. From what I heard, the heart at the time was believed by many religious people to be the “soul” of a person, and the beating of the heart was strictly powered by this. Does anybody have any references to back this up – I’d like to read more about it.

October 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm
(62) shukers says:

Sir Magdi Yacoub, an egyptian surgeon carried out the first UK live lobe lung transplant and went on to perform more transplants than any other surgeon in the world and he carried out the first succesful heart transplant.

November 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm
(63) gaurav says:

briliant surgery It’ s was

February 10, 2011 at 5:49 am
(64) Multiple tx says:

Tx 4 the idea it help many ppl myb the 5sumthn year old guy hs tym came ul neva knw

February 27, 2011 at 10:33 am
(65) veritas says:

shukers says: “Sir Magdi Yacoub…carried out the first succesful heart transplant” is shear rubbish, since his accomplishments did not take place until 1980!

March 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm
(66) haha says:

Dang i just had a heart tranplant at Johns Hopkins and im doin great!!

April 12, 2011 at 9:30 am
(67) ash says:

pls have more info

April 21, 2011 at 9:31 am
(68) simon bloemendaal says:

the anesthesiologists on duty, involved was dr Piet Vis, NL

May 12, 2011 at 2:22 pm
(69) Irelnd ListowelConvent Primary 5th A says:

Thxxx that was my project!

May 20, 2011 at 12:09 am
(70) Beth says:

The first heart transplant was performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson,MS. The heart was taken from a chimpanzee and transplanted into a human. Dr James Hardy was the lead surgeon. Yes: Jackson, Mississippi. Dr Hardy also performed the first lung transplant at UMMC in 1963. Sadly, not far away Medgar Evers lost his battle for life in the UMMC ER that night. Because of the tragedy of the shooting death of Medgar Evers, the lung transplant did not get much coverage. That was a triumphant night in Mississippi as well as a tragic night in Mississippi.

June 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm
(71) arianne says:

amazing! that was cool but thanks because it got assignment perfect

September 26, 2011 at 5:47 am
(72) nyka marie says:

yes! i got the answer for our quiz bee on thursday
i am so nervious

September 26, 2011 at 2:35 pm
(73) Hi says:

This isn’t right, as there was a heart transplant in 1953.

September 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm
(74) thomas says:

pore man, i would hate to do that, dieing 18 days later, unerleavable. :(

October 14, 2011 at 10:04 am
(75) Daniel Motley says:

hmmm the Doc. must not put him in sanetary position i would of airport him out of Africia just some advice from a heart surgeon my self

October 29, 2011 at 10:44 am
(76) jake says:

good job doc

December 3, 2011 at 2:45 am
(77) Hans says:

Heard just now for the first time that there was actually a black assistant (assistant since he was not a qualified doctor) involved. Typical apartheid SA that no mention is made of the guy. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamilton_Naki

January 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm
(78) zoey miller says:

wow that is just amazing! x

March 21, 2012 at 10:29 am
(79) Bef says:

hahahahahahahahahahahaha! lol fail

March 21, 2012 at 10:34 am
(80) Amna Ali says:

god that guy was thick to have a transplant in Africa! FAIL.

April 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm
(81) Katherine says:

That is absolutly amazing that in the year 1967, a man was brave enough to have the surgery done on him, as well as the doctors that performed the actual surgery. i thank god that he allowed those doctors to do what they did all those years ago because if they hadnt taken the first step, the heart transplant would never have be discovered.This would have made it impossible for my grandmather and grandfather to contine to live as they are heart transplant patients.Thank the lord for that amazing day in world history.Amen.

April 30, 2012 at 11:02 am
(82) person says:

…”VERY INTERESTING”!!!=) wouldn’t everyone agree???;p

May 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm
(83) hans says:

The black man some are referring to did very well and achieved a lot as he had nor formal education end learnt how to transplant hearts and livers by practical experience. He was awarded a docterate for that, thus, he received recognition. He got the opportunity to learn what he have learnt from white people anyway and he was in fact not the only black man who gained this experience. What about the other black men working with him? Did they not deserve the same recognition then.In fact, he only assisted in removing and transplanting animal hearts and organs and NEVER human hearts. So tipical Hans, South Africa is always ac
cused of denying things which blacks achieved. He was denied nothing, he was just not “recognised” things he did NOT achieve. Please stop living your imagination! Don`t try to ut people on pedistals they do not deserve!

May 2, 2012 at 11:11 pm
(84) hans says:

Some participants here also express their surprise about the first human – to – human heart being transplanted in Africa. For you who have never visited SA, please note that it is a country which you should compare to Europe and America. You cannot associate SA fully with the rest of Africa as there is just not any other African country which gets close to SA regarding standards and development. SA was first with many things before and it shoud not come as such a surprise that a medical milestone was met here! Also, the discussion here is about the first human – to – human heart transplant and no one denies the fact that America was first in transplanting hearts. Dr. Chris Barnard also went to America to gain his knowledge on the subject. He obtained a six year – degree in ony two years. Fact is, although America was the leader in heart transplants, a SA born had the courage first to transplant a human heart to a human being, it was done in Africa
and this is what is being discussed here.

May 22, 2012 at 5:10 am
(85) bob says:

The heart transpalnt was NOT a fail ……. :L he died of pneumonia..

August 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm
(86) David madubanya says:

We all know that christiaan barnat is the one who transplant a heart but it was not him,it was a black person in kwazulu natal then barnat took over

October 20, 2012 at 4:03 am
(87) Cameo says:

A good friend of mine Dad got a heart transplant 2 weeks ago. He now has to stay in a hotel for 4 to 5 weeks. Insurance won’t pay for it and money is tight. Is there any organisations that can help cover the cost. He also lost his daughter on June 7th in a car accident. Any help you can give is appreciated. Thank you!

December 19, 2012 at 2:39 am
(88) me says:

History of mankind on history channel has him as a white man

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