According to Wikipedia, Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital (South Africa) in December 1967. The patient was Louis Washkansky, who lived 18 days after the procedure before dying of pneumonia. The donor, Denise Darvall, had recently been critically injured in a car accident.
Wikipedia (my favorite easy source of information... ) also provides the name of the world's longest living heart transplant patient. As of 2006, Tony Huesman had survived for 28 years with a transplanted heart. He received his new one in 1978 (at 20 years old) after his heart was severely weakened by viral pneumonia. Huesman’s surgery was performed at Stanford University under American heart transplant pioneer Dr. Norman Shumway, who continued to perform the operation in the U.S. after others abandoned it due to poor results.
Recent years have brought about so many gigantic strides in the medical field. We all either know someone or have ourselves been saved by modern medicine.
But how thrilling it is to know that long before that first transplant in 1967, God was performing spiritual heart transplants with a 100% success rate!
The Donor willingly gave His life on a cross, providing a perfect heart that can be transplanted again and again. No risk of running out of time while we wait for our name to reach the top of some waiting list. Our Physician is ready and willing to give us a new heart right now! Even more amazing, the only cost is submission to His loving will … spiritually prostrating ourselves on His surgery table and placing ourselves in His tender, nail-scarred hands.
I like the way Dr. Shumway thought … he “continued to perform the operation after others abandoned it due to poor results.” Doesn’t that sound just like Jesus? The Great Physician continues to offer hope for a clean, spiritually healthy heart, even when the rest of the world thinks there is none!
Father, I am so grateful for the new heart you created within me – a clean heart, free of the filth of sin. Thank you for the constant cleansing flow of Your blood that keeps my new heart healthy and pure. Let me never forget this miracle You created in me. Renew in me each day a right spirit – one that is pleasing to You, Lord. I ask it in Your precious name. Amen.