The first heart transplant was performed in Africa
June 5, 2021 8:35 PM   Subscribe

 
I think a link may be missing. Where does the lead quote come from?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:19 PM on June 5 [1 favorite]


Oops, Thanks, Joe. This article discusses the team's first patients.
posted by jumanjinight at 5:38 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


At the time, there was little mention of those who had helped Barnard achieve this milestone

I do not say this to de-emphasize the injustice of this case or the others they highlight, but I think its important to point out that dynamics between those like Naki and Barnard exist for all medical discoveries. Nurses, interns/med students, patients, families are all un-credited contributors to medical knowledge. Indeed the very foundation of medicine is reliant on knowledge stolen from primarily women healers, who were then barred from the institutions that legitimated that knowledge. It's turtles and primitive accumulation all the way down.
posted by shesdeadimalive at 5:39 AM on June 6 [3 favorites]


I had a very good friend who had his first heart transplant in 1974. We both worked for NY State as civil servants. He had a congenital condition and his older brother died before him of the same malady. This person was a true gentleman and who was well read especially history. I knew no one who disliked him. Around 2000, he had to have a second heart transplant. Unfortunately, he died from complications due to the second transplant in 2009 at the age of 54. He was cheated out of years of life and I miss him very much.
posted by DJZouke at 7:55 AM on June 6 [7 favorites]


There are always helpers, and they deserve credit; but not equal credit. Would Barnard have done the transplant with different support staff? Yes. If Naki had worked for a different surgeon, would that surgeon have performed a transplant? No. Is there something racially patronising going on here?
posted by Phanx at 8:03 AM on June 6 [1 favorite]


Naki’s story resonates strongly with that of Vivien Thomas, who helped Alfred Blaylock and Virginia Taussig advance pediatric heart surgery with belated recognition.
posted by TedW at 10:14 AM on June 6


I think the argument isn’t that “helpers” deserve x amount of credit, but how many Barnard-level surgeons could there be if we didn’t limit who had access to formal education?
Maybe if Naki had been allowed to go to medical school he would have gotten it done with a different surgeon. We don’t know. We also don’t know that Barnard would have, without Naki.
As long as we’re dealing in counterfactuals, why are we still accepting as given the racism and sexism that has shaped medicine thus far?
posted by shesdeadimalive at 10:32 AM on June 6 [4 favorites]


Naki’s story resonates strongly with that of Vivien Thomas, who helped Alfred Blaylock and Virginia Taussig advance pediatric heart surgery with belated recognition.

Vanderbilt Medical Center just renamed Dixie Place (a road on their campus that leads to parking) to Vivien Thomas Way.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:22 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]


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