Sir Magdi Yacoub has almost single-handedly revolutionsed cardiology from his early days as a junior doctor in London in the 60’s, to retirement from his beloved NHS in 2001.
“Pushing frontiers is never easy, because everybody is against you … once you go out beyond what is known, you are completely in the dark. You are on your own, and anything can happen, and that is very destabilizing.”
–Sir Magdi Yacoub
As someone who has been on my Top 10 list of dream guests since the show began three years ago, Professor Yacoub was a joy to interview and his breadth of his knowledge is incredible. He performed the first combined heart and lung transplant in 1983, the first ‘domino’ operation in 1987, and along the way he established the largest heart and lung transplantation programme in the world at Harefield Hospital in the UK, where more than 2,500 transplant operations have been performed.
And yet, as I list these groundbreaking procedures, it is easy to forget there was a time when he was considered a dangerous maverick—pushing the boundaries of what was possible on the operating table and going head-to-head with the cautious British medical establishment. Lawsuits, negative press and persistent doubts hung over him. He has of course been vindicated, and then some.
Today, Professor Yacoub dedicates his time to his Chain of Hope charity. His much-anticipated biography, A Surgeon and a Maverick: The Life and Pioneering Work of Magdy Yacoub is now available at AUC Press. He has pledged a percentage of the book royalties to the Magdi Yacoub Foundation in Cairo.