Who is Dr Victor Chang? Google Doodle honours pioneering surgeon

Google is celebrating Chinese-Australian surgeon Victor Chang on his birth anniversary for his revolutionary work pioneering modern heart transplants.

On Tuesday, Google commemorated Chang with a Doodle that featured a sketch of the gifted heart surgeon with an animated pulse rate in the background.

Chang is remembered as a trailblazer in the field of cardiovascular surgery and transplantation.

One of his most significant contributions to cardiology includes developing an artificial heart valve and an artificial heart assist device that are used worldwide in severe heart conditions.

Chang’s artificial heart valve offered a notable cost advantage compared to earlier models, enhancing its global accessibility for use in critical lifesaving procedures.

In 1984, the doctor led a team of surgeons who successfully performed a heart transplant on a teenage girl Fiona Coote, who became Australia’s youngest heart transplant survivor at the age at of 14.

She continued to remain well 38 years after her surgery.


In the same year, Chang founded the National Heart Transplant Program at St Vincent’s Hospital, which has continued to perform surgeries.

He was born on 21 November 1936 in Shanghai, China and had later moved to Australia. He, however, died under tragic circumstances, after he was shot dead on 4 July 1991 at the age of 55 in a failed extortion attempt.

Chang’s contributions to the medical field have been widely acknowledged in Australia.

He was bestowed with the country’s highest award, the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 1986.

He was voted as the “Australian of the Century” at the country’s edition of the People’s Choice Awards in 1999.

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute was established in 1994 and bears his name in a tribute to his legacy.

The institute remains dedicated in its commitment to discovering cures, preventive measures, and diagnostic tools for cardiovascular diseases.

“A caring surgeon and humanitarian, Chang was passionate about the power of discovery,” it says on its website.

“He had a bold vision to establish a world-class medical research institute, knowing that while he could save hundreds of lives through surgery, he could save thousands more through research.”

Chang’s tragic death had sent shockwaves through the medical community and the public.

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute remembers the gifted doctor by saying he knew “that while he could save hundreds of lives through surgery, he could save thousands more through research”.

Chang went on to study and practice around the world before returning to Australia.

He received training in cardiothoracic surgery at the Mayo Clinic and in the UK after graduating from Sydney University with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees.

For almost two decades, he operated alongside his colleagues Dr Harry Windsor and Dr Mark Shanahan, who performed Australia’s first-ever heart transplant in 1968.

Chang had developed a love for the medical profession at an early age after his mother died from breast cancer.


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