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Personal Stories
Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard
Sir Prof Magdi Yacoub

Steven Tibbey
Denise Darvall
Rebecca Nix
Natalie Brown

Artificial Heart
Jim Braid
Matthew Green
obert Tools

Heart Transplants

Andrea Barrett
Shannon Curran
Emma Grace George
Ashlea Jerome
Leslie Keown
Jade Licence
Shawn Middleton
Hannah Pudsey
Lizzie Rogaski

Post Op Diary
Louis Washkansky
Carol Agle
Trish Byng
Micky Byrne
Reg Chisholm
Mike Doyle
Gay Eberhart
Jill Edwards
Maria Encalada
Bob Enos
John Fisher
Mick Foster
Steve Henderson
Buddy Hickey
Tanya Jones
John McCafferty
Derrick Morris
Bob Pitcock
Charlotte Jane Tate
Ann Woodbridge

Heart and Lung
Diana Chandler
John Rueben
Peta Capello

Domino Transplants
Peter Allinson
Shonqueela Mallory
Andrew Wilson

Jonathon Holmes

Carers Story
Helen Nutman
Sandra Taylor

Waiting For Transplant
Diana Chandler


The World's First Heart Donor
Denise Anne Darvell

Sadly Denise died 3rd December 1967

Denis Anne DarvallDenise lived in Cape Town, South Africa with her mother and father, and her younger brother. She worked as a bank clerk and one of her hobbies was designing and making her own cloths.

One Sunday afternoon on 3rd December 1967, she and her family were invited to afternoon tea at a friends house. Denise had a new car and she like to drive to places, Denise and her younger brother Keith were in the front singing while they drove, Mr and Mrs Darvall were in the back. On the way to their friends house they decided to stop and buy a cake as a gift for their friends.

Denise pulled over on the left hand side of the road, her and her mother got out of the car and crossed over to a bakery leaving her dad and brother in the car waiting. When returning to the car with the cake they were both knocked down. Mrs Darvall was killed instantly, whereas Denise was thrown across the road and banged her head on a parked cars hub cap. This caused a serious injury to her head, an ambulance arrived and took her to Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

Mr Darvall traveled in the ambulance to the hospital with his wife and daughter, at the time he didn't realise his wife had died, and he could hear his daughter moaning. On arriving at the hospital he was told his wife had died at the scene of the accident.

His daughter was rushed into a small emergency room, but sadly the brain specialist confirmed her injuries were too severe and that she wouldn't survive.

Dr Bosman then went to tell Mr George Darvall the news, Mr Darvall had already been told that his wife had died that day due to the accident and now he was being told his daughter would not survive.

Mr Darvall was then asked about transplantation and whether the hospital could use her heart and kidney to save the lives of two other patients?

He knew his wives wishes should anything have happened to her, as she had told him she wanted to be cremated, but he had no idea what his daughter would have wanted. It only took him about 4 minutes to make his mind up, he remembered a birthday cake she had once made with a heart on it and the words DADDY WE LOVE YOU. He also remembered a bathrobe she had brought him with her first weeks wages, she was like that always giving things to other people, so he decided to say yes.

"Well Doctor if you can't save my daughter please do save the other patients."

Mr Darvall never regretted donating Denny's heart, he said I could never have forgiven myself if I hadn't, I would have been haunted by her voice asking me, "Why daddy didn't you do it - why didn't you want to help save that persons life?"

Louis Washkansky was the recipient of Denise's heart and a young boy received her kidney.

Mr & Mrs Darvall
Mr and Mrs George Darvall

One of Denise's designs for a dress

Hennie Joubert owner of the Groote Schuur Hospital Museum
was given the design and had the dress made. This and several other personal items of Denise's are deplayed in the museum


Lewis Wanhkanksy
Louis Washkansky
World's first heart transplant
3rd December 1967

Dr Christiaan Barnard asked Louis if he would be interested in having a heart transplant, although it had never been done before.

Louis said "If thats the only chance I will take it."

Dr Barnard said "Don't you want to think about it?"

Louis replied "No, no....there's nothing to think about. I can't go on living like this. The way I am now is not living."

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