Milestones in UMMC history
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Milestones in UMMC History

Published on Monday, March 25, 2024

By: Gary Pettus,

During its 69-year history, the University of Mississippi Medical Center has made contributions to the state, and the world, in medicine, science and education. Each month, we’ll recognize at least one of these major accomplishments.

Heart Transplant milestone

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant into a human — performed here at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. On Jan. 23, 1964, Dr. James Hardy led a team that transplanted a chimpanzee’s heart — no human heart was immediately available – into the chest of Boyd Rush, a critically ill patient. It would be nearly four more years before a South African surgeon named Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human-to-human heart transplant.

Following the operation at UMMC, Boyd lived 60-90 minutes, but Hardy had proved that heart transplantation in humans could work. This history-making surgery followed by only seven months the first-ever human lung transplant — also performed by Hardy and his team.