Powerful Christiaan Barnard Quotes to Remember

In this post, I’ve compiled some of the most memorable Christiaan Barnard quotes.

Christiaan Barnard was born on November 8, 1922, and died on September 2, 2001. He was a South African cardiac surgeon who carried out the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant.

Barnard studied medicine and practiced for many years in his home country of South Africa. Barnard created a treatment for the newborn condition known as intestinal atresia. His approach saved 10 babies’ lives in Cape Town and was adopted by surgeons in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Barnard was appointed head of the Department of Experimental Surgery at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town in 1958. After rheumatoid arthritis in his hands ended his medical career, he retired as head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Cape Town in 1983.

During his latter years, he became interested in anti-aging research and founded the Christiaan Barnard Foundation, which was committed to aiding poor children all around the world. He died of an asthma attack in 2001, at the age of 78.

9 Christiaan Barnard Quotes

  1. “It is infinitely better to transplant a heart than to bury it to be devoured by worms.”

2. “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.”

3. “If the poor overweight jogger only knew how far he had to run to work off the calories in a crust of bread he might find it better in terms of pound per mile to go to a massage parlor.”

4. “I don’t believe medical discoveries are doing much to advance human life. As fast as we create ways to extend it we are inventing ways to shorten it.”

5. “The individual is the brain, not the heart.”

6. “The heart transplant wasn’t such a big thing surgically. The point is I was prepared to take the risk. My philosophy is that the biggest risk in life is not to take the risk.”

7. “Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is.”

Christiaan Barnard quotes

8. “I believe often that death is good medical treatment because it can achieve what all the medical advances and technology cannot achieve today, and that is stop the suffering of the patient.”

9. “For a dying man it is not a difficult decision [to agree to become the world’s first heart transplant] … because he knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side. But you would not accept such odds if there were no lion.”

My favorite Christiaan Barnard quotes are, “Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is.” and “I don’t believe medical discoveries are doing much to advance human life. As fast as we create ways to extend it we are inventing ways to shorten it.”

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