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Norman E. Shumway
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Doctor
    (February 9, 1923-February 10, 2006)
    Earned a medical degree from Vanderbilt University (1949)
    First surgeon in the U.S. to perform a successful open heart transplant operation (Stanford University School of Medicine - January 6, 1968)
    Oversaw about 800 human heart transplants
    Died of lung cancer one day after turning 83 years old
    He was studying pre-law, but when he took an Army aptitude test showing promise as a physician a colonel gave him a choice of staying in the infantry or going to medical school. His reply, 'I always wanted to be a doctor.'
    One of his pupils, South African Dr. Christiaan Barnard, beat him to the punch by one month, performing the first human heart transplant (December 3, 1967).
    His first heart transplant patient died after two weeks in what he termed 'a fantastic galaxy of complications.'
    He helped define 'brain death.'
    He continued improving techniques for heart transplants when other U.S. doctors gave up the practice of heart transplants due to 'poor results.'
    He pioneered anti-rejection methods with a combination of immune system suppressive drugs and careful monitoring of heart activity to predict and prevent complications.
    In part due to his efforts, as of 2006, 85% of American heart transplant recipients live at least a year and 70% at least five years.

Credit: Scar Tactics


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