Alan Gilston

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 01 September 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:518

Founder of the Intensive Care Society and anaesthetist for the first UK heart transplant

When the first UK heart transplant was performed, by Donald Ross, Keith Ross, and Donald Longmore at the National Heart Hospital (now part of the Brompton Hospital) on 3 May 1968, the anaesthetist was Alan Gilston, a recently appointed consultant with a particular interest in intensive care. Such was Gilston's dedication, he spent the night sleeping alongside the patient in the operating theatre. This proved a sensible precaution as the patient's central venous line came out and had to be replaced.

In the event, the transplant—on 45 year old Fred West, who received the heart of 26 year old Patrick Ryan, who had sustained head injuries at work from which he could never recover—was successful, but the patient died 45 days postoperatively.

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Two years later, in 1970, Gilston founded the Intensive Care Society, and was …

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