Obituaries

Norman Shumway

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7540.553 (Published 02 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:553

The father of heart transplantation and surgeon who performed the world's first heart-lung transplant

Norman Shumway, a surgeon at Stanford University, California, had been researching heart transplantation in animals for a decade when he announced, on 20 November 1967, that he was ready to carry out the first human heart transplant and was awaiting a suitable donor. The announcement received news coverage around the world. The following day, the South African Cape Times announced that a team at Groote Schuur Hospital was on standby to perform a heart transplant. South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard (obituary BMJ 2001;323: 696) had trained with Shumway in California, and he performed the world's first transplant on 3 December 1967. The patient survived for 17 days.


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Credit: AP/STANFORD UNIVERSITY

Shumway, a mild mannered and modest man, felt relieved that he wasn't the first. He wanted to avoid the media spotlight and perform a series of 10 operations that he could report in a medical journal. He performed his first successful human heart transplant, and the world's fourth, …

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