Transplant Triumph

Donald Mcrae

Author Donald Mcrae discusses his book “Every Second Counts” about the race to transplant the first human heart.

McRae discusses the first kidney transplant in 1950 and the pioneering work by surgeons to transplant hearts between dogs.

He discusses the concept of when a patient is dead, and how that definition was different in South Africa then the United States at the time. The reasons why Dr. Barnard won the race, which was tied to this narrower definition, are analyzed too.

McRae takes listeners through the December 3rd, 1967 operation by Dr. Barnard which successfully transplanted the first human to human heart in history.

The work continued following this transplant to develop better anti-rejection drugs to make the operation safer and increasingly routine.

The interview concludes with the author’s assessment of Barnard.