Christiaan Barnard

South African cardiac surgeon

Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 19222 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplant on 3 December 1967.

Christiaan Barnard, 1968


  • This mountain, I thought, was like education: The higher you climbed, the farther you could see.
    • One Life (New York: Macmillan Company, 1970), p. 49.
  • Last year a Dutch animal breeding centre sent me two chimpanzees as a gift. I killed one and cut its heart out. The other wept bitterly and was inconsolable. The sad chimp has long since happily mated again and lives with lots of other animals on a pleasant game farm near Villiersdorp. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures, but the memory of that weeping chimp has remained with me. It was taken for granted, of course, that he was weeping for his mate but I've since had some thoughts on the subject which made me wonder whether perhaps he was weeping for the human race. The idea is not as silly as it sounds. In our doings there is much to weep over and even a chimpanzee would never behave in some of the contradictory ways we think of as normal.
    • The Best Medicine (Cape Town: Tafelberg Publishers, 1979), p. 38.
  • Suffering isn't ennobling, recovery is.
    • New York Times, April 28, 1985; as quoted in A Speaker's Treasury of Quotations by Michael C. Thomsett and Linda Rose Thomsett (McFarland, 2009), p. 111.


  • The prime goal is to alleviate suffering, and not to prolong life. And if your treatment does not alleviate suffering, but only prolongs life, that treatment should be stopped.
    • Quoted in Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations by Peter McDonald (Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 9.

External linksEdit

Wikipedia has an article about: