Brian Barratt-Boyes

Internationally acclaimed New Zealand pioneering heart surgeon Brian Barratt-Boyes has died aged 82. Educated at Wellington College and Otago University Medical School, Barratt-Boyes battled against bureaucracy for more funding and staff to do what was necessary for a country that he observed had “the rather dubious position of leading the world in the incidence of heart disease.” Barratt-Boyes was knighted in 1971 for his numerous contributions to the advancement of heart surgery including: performing New Zealandís first cardio-pulmonary bypass (1958), leading the team at Greenlane Hospital that carried out the first successful heart operation in New Zealand to give a 3 year old “blue baby” a new lease of life (1965), introducing aortic valve replacement (1982) and pioneering a now standard  procedure of lowering infant body temperature (1985). In a sad twist of fate, Barratt-Boyes’ greatest battle was with his own heart problems, a condition he kept to himself until 1974 when a Greenlane colleague performed a coronary artery bypass on him. Barratt-Boyes underwent a further three heart operations in his lifetime, the last performed two weeks before his death.

Brian Barratt-Boyes: 13 January 1924 – 8 March 2006

Tags: Brian Barratt-Boyes  Greenlane hospital  heart surgery  University of Otago  Wellington College  

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