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Sunday, 2 September, 2001, 22:14 GMT 23:14 UK
Medical world remembers Barnard
Dr Barnard (left) with British heart transplant patient Keith Castle (centre) and nurse Phillip Darbyshire
Dr Barnard (left) is respected for the care he showed patients
News of Christiaan Barnard's death brought dismay to fellow surgeons across the world.

Cardiologists praised his lasting contribution to medicine, and colleagues remembered his dedication to his patients.

And those who knew him best also recalled his lively character.

Day and night care

Ignazio Marino, director of the Mediterranean Transplants Institute in Palermo, Italy, pointed to the scale of Dr Barnard's breakthrough heart transplant operation in 1967.

Dr Barnard speaks to press in Vienna, December 2000, in company of hospital director Reinhard Krepler
Colleagues all over the world praised Dr Barnard's legacy

"Carrying out the first heart transplant showed great courage in an area many at the time considered purely experimental," he said.

Dr Maaten Simoons, head of the European Society of Cardiology, said Dr Barnard's impact was being felt to this day.

"Thirty years later, many thousands of patients a year are still benefiting from the therapy he pioneered," said Dr Simoons.

For Dr Lars Ryden, professor of cardiology at Stockholm's Karolinska Institute, Dr Barnard was a "symbol of hope for many people with lethal cardiac disease".

An Italian surgeon who once worked with the doctor in Cape Town said he was a man who lived to help his patients.

"He always said - and I'll never forget it - that the patient should be followed day and night," Guido Regina said.

Nurses beware

South Africa's top female heart surgeon, Susan Vosloo, said he was "one of the greatest people" she had ever known.

"He really made an enormous contribution to medical history not only for the transplant which people know about," she added.

Dr Vosloo pointed to Dr Barnard's groundbreaking work on tuberculosis and on babies with congenital heart defects.

The doctor, who worked with Dr Barnard only last year, also praised his sense of humour.

But, as British heart surgeon Sir Terence English remembered, the South African could be a "very difficult man in the operating room".

"Not everybody liked him, and a lot of people were jealous of him," said Sir Terence.

Dr Barnard was always popular with nurses, however, according to Dr Bernard Mandell, president of the South African Medical Association.

He recalls that Dr Barnard once said he would "prefer women to the Nobel Prize".

"No nurse in the hospital was immune to him," he added.

See also:

16 Nov 99 | Health
Heart pioneer defends record
25 Sep 98 | Background Briefings
The art of transplantation
02 Sep 01 | Health
Pioneering heart surgeon dies
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