[Perspectives] Miracle in Cape Town
They called it the “miracle in Cape Town”. On Dec 3, 1967, the world awoke to the news that the South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard had done the first human heart transplantation. Newspapers published pictures of the recipient, a 54-year-old grocer called Louis Washkansky, and—strangely, to modern eyes—the donor, Denise Darvall, a young woman who had been fatally injured in a road traffic accident. Washkansky lived for only 18 days before succumbing to a postoperative infection but was briefly well enough to give interviews.