Sunday marked the 50 years since South African Dr. Christiaan Barnard successfully replaced a man's heart with one from a lady.
That operation took 8 hours with 19 medical professionals involved. The news spread quickly around the world as the heart started successfully beating.
Unfortunately, Louis Washkansky fell ill. and Dr. Barnard’s logical assumption that his patients’ body was rejecting the new organ was incorrect so administering drugs to shut down the 53-year-old grocer's immune system to fight the rejection proved fatal and he died after 18 days with a case of pneumonia.
Since 1967 we've progressed in an amazing way in medical transplants according to TIME magazine!
Today in the United States around 30,000 patients receive vital organ transplants each year with about 116,000 on the waiting lists. Twenty people die each day waiting.
All types of transplantable organs are in short supply. Close to half of American’s are registered as organ donors, but unfortunately, only a fraction of the organs can be used.
From the good news area, more than half the heart transplant recipients now live over 13 years with that number increasing on a regular basis.
Also, animal organs and artificial hearts are coming into play making the possibility of eliminating waitlists realistic.
Pig hearts offer the best potential because doctors have been able to edit pig DNA to improve these animals' health.
Here are the annual numbers performed and the number still on waitlists.
“The single best decision of my life”—that’s what living donors said. “When I donated to my friend John, it’s not because I was feeling reckless or that I was uninformed about possible risks. Instead, I felt as if I were being given a shot at making a real difference—perhaps save a life. I’d never had that chance before. Unless you’re a doctor, policeman, fireman, or lifeguard, few people do”.
Also, over half transplants today come from living donors!
I'm Steve Sauder and there's something to think about!