Today in Texas History – May 3

From the Annals of the Surgeons –  In 1968, surgeon Dr. Denton Cooley and associates at performed the first heart transplant in the United States.  Dr. Christian Barnard had conducted the first heart transplant six months earlier in Cape Town, South Africa.  The first American surgery was conducted at St. Luke’s Hospital.  Everett Thomas received a heart donated from a 15 year old girl and lived for 204 days after the surgery.   The landmark surgery was the first of many contributions that Texas physicians and scientists have made to the field of human heart transplantation.   Dr. Cooley and another Houston heart surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey were the leaders in the field of heart surgery and heart transplantation.  Their work was the subject of “Hearts” – a book by journalist Tommy Thompson which chronicled their rivalry at the beginning of the heart-transplant era.


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