Newsletter January 6, 2024

Monday Morning Coffee 1.8.24

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) November index of signed contracts on existing homes was the same as October, but the NAR noted “a surge in interest, as evidenced by a higher number of lockbox openings.”

Sellers are still getting good prices, as the October National Home Price Index posted its ninth straight monthly gain, and now sits a tick higher than its peak in 2022.

Freddie Mac’s chief economist notes, “Heading into the new year, the economy remains on firm ground with solid growth, a tight labor market, decelerating inflation, and rebound in the housing market.”

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”  ~ Mark Twain

Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first human heart transplant operation on December 3, 1967, in an operation assisted by his brother, Marius Barnard; the operation lasted nine hours and used a team of thirty people.

The patient, Louis Washkansky, was a 54-year-old grocer, suffering from diabetes and incurable heart disease.

Barnard later wrote, “For a dying man it is not a difficult decision because he knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap into the water, convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side.”

The donor heart came from a young woman, Denise Darvall, who had been killed in a December 2, 1967, road accident while crossing a street in Cape Town. After securing permission from Darvall’s father to use her heart, Barnard performed the transplant.

Washkansky survived the operation and lived for eighteen (18) days. However, he succumbed to pneumonia induced by the immunosuppressive drugs he was taking.

Though the first patient with the heart of another human being survived for only a little more than two weeks, Barnard had passed a milestone in a new field of life-extending surgery.

Twenty years later, Dr. Marius Barnard recounted, “Chris stood there for a few moments, watching, then stood back and said, ‘It works.'”

Christiaan Neethling Barnard became an international superstar overnight and was celebrated around the world for his daring accomplishment. He was quite photogenic, and enjoyed the media attention following the operation.

After his first successful heart transplant Barnard became known as the “film star surgeon”.

He was hated by many peers who were jealous of his instant success. He was accused by some colleagues in the profession of “stealing” the idea and the opportunity to perform the first heart transplant.

Often considered a spoiled and arrogant personality by his peers, patients regarded him as kind and considerate. He was loved by his patients throughout the world, hundreds of whom were treated free of charge.

Barnard continued to perform heart transplants. A transplant operation was conducted on 2 January 1968, and the patient, Philip Blaiberg, survived for 19 months.

Dorothy Fisher was given a new heart in 1969 and became the first black recipient. She lived for 12 years 6 months after the transplant.

Dirk van Zyl, who received a new heart in 1971, was the longest-lived recipient, surviving over 23 years.

When many surgeons — disillusioned by poor results — gave up cardiac transplantation, Barnard persisted until the advent of cyclosporin, which helped revive the operation throughout the world.

Today, over 4,000 patients a year receive heart transplants.

Cindy Glynn
Coldwell Banker American Home