Sunday Times

Heart­breaker

James-Brent Styan, Jonathan Ball Pub­lish­ers, R240

- Tiah Beaute­ment @ms_­ti­ah­marie

What makes this bi­og­ra­phy of Chris­ti­aan Barnard so in­ter­est­ing is that it demon­strates how Barnard’s work fits into the world­wide sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, then and now. This in­cludes in­ter­est­ing trivia; such as Barnard was not the first to at­tempt a heart trans­plant. It was Tom Hardy, an Amer­i­can, who put a chim­panzee’s heart into a 68-year-old man (he died 90 min­utes later). But the most alarm­ing take away is Styan’s in­sight to how ac­cess to heart op­er­a­tions for South Africa’s un­der­priv­i­leged is rapidly de­clin­ing. This is de­spite the fact that, “in South Africa, heart dis­ease is the lead­ing cause of death among chil­dren un­der the age of 5”.

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