Welcome to the Chris Barnard Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

Marius Barnard dies at 87

5 Dec 2014 - 22:00

Dr Marius Barnard, brother of Christiaan Barnard and who assisted in the historic first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital on December 3, 1967, died almost to the date, 47 years later, on Friday December 5 in Hermanus, South Africa after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Marius avoided the media hype surrounding the first heart transplant, where the heart of Denise Darvall was transplanted into dentist Louis Washkansky, rather focussing on improving cardiac care in the indigent. He co-formulated the concept of critical illness insurance, designed to ease the plight of patients worldwide. His famous comment regarding the 1967 transplant "We are doctors and we tried to save a human being's life and I don't think there is anything special about it." epitomises his modest demeanour.