At the airport yesterday I saw a new book on Professor Chris Barnard by James-Brent Styan: ‘Heartbreaker’.
It’s fifty years since the world’s first heart transplant and the famous surgeon and playboy is in the news again, as people use the anniversary to look back afresh . .
A while ago I had found Aitch’s 1983 diary. Her entries to record her overtime as a cardiovascular perfusionist assisting during heart ops had abbreviations likes “palliative VSD 1.5hrs; MVR 1.5hrs; CVG”.
One of her entries in December was ’17h00 Wed 14 Dec Farewell for CNB, Nurses Lounge, Clarendon House’. I knew that CNB meant Christiaan Neethling Barnard as she worked with him at the time. She would run the heart-lung machine to oxygenate the blood while he and the other surgeons worked on the patient’s heart.
I had time before my flight so I thought I wonder if they have anything about his retirement in the book? and flipped through it.
And there she was on page 216:
So I had to buy it to show the pic to Jess and Tom. Jess said “Cool”; Tom shrugged: “We knew Mom was famous!”
A few years prior to this, Jess had been able to Show and Tell her classmates about her Mom.