One life Author:Christian Barnard and Curtis Bill Pepper The first human heart transplant. — "I always pray before any major operation--usually in the car on the way to the hospital because I am alone then. And now as I drove through the night, I felt more than ever the need for it. Yet I could not pray. Each time I began, my thoughts broke in upon me. — "No, there were two operations--not one. We neede... more »d two teams of men and women. One would hold in life some vital organs of the donor while the other prepared the recipient, Louis Washkansky. They had to be timed so that neither would excise the heart too soon, or too late--causing the loss of precious minutes. A heart, a life, could be lost in a few seconds.
"Both teams had to work together as one. Even then, a single error on either side could collapse the entire operation. Any team was as strong as its weakest link and here there were twice as many links--all of them tense and nervous human beings. Many had worked all day in the hospital and now, without rest needed for such precision work, they would be ordered from their sleep to labor all night and perhaps into the next day. It was impossible to say how long it would take. For who had ever seen the end of such a tunnel?
"...Years later, many people around the world, including President Lyndon Johnson, would ask me how it happened that the first human heart transplant occurred in a nation as small as South Africa. It was made possible by a two-minute phone call, by the generosity of the United States government, and by one man's faith in me. The pioneer is always a lonely man, but he is never completely alone." --Christian Barnard« less