About this event

  • Date and time Wed 12 Dec 2018 from 5:30pm to 7:15pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by History of Medicine Society

Join us as we explore the cultural history of the early heart transplants - focusing both on Christiaan Barnard’s first transplant in December 1967 and the first three British attempts in 1968 - 1969, but more generally on the first wave of transplants in the late 1960s.

Medicine is now highly managed - with press conferences and hospital PR staff on hand, but in the late 1960s, this was all completely new. We'll be taking a look at the publicity management behind these breakthrough operations.

what will the day include?
- Develop the capacity for critical thinking about the nature, ends and limits of medicine - how the high profile mediation of the early heart transplants contributed to a 10 year international moratorium.

- Identify successes and failures in the history of medical professionalism - how the heart transplants and publicity surrounding them challenged and transformed established professional ethical codes of conducts.

- Recognise the dynamic interrelationship between medicine and society through history.

- Respond to changes in medical practice guided by a historically informed concept of professional responsibility and patient advocacy- looking at the dual role of media consumers also being medical consumers - and how the high mortality rate of the early heart transplants and ethical controversies for example surrounding brain death undermined trust in the medical profession as a whole.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee

Dr Anjna Harrar, President, History of Medicine Society, Royal Society of Medicine and Dr John Harcup

The first heart transplants: A turning point in medical media relations

Dr Ayesha Nathoo, Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Close of meeting
Dinner - for those who have pre-booked


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom