This Day in Jewish History First Heart Transplant Patient Goes Under the Knife

Louis Washkansky was a fun-loving, hard-drinking, athletic man who got a new heart and ended up dying of pneumonia.

On December 3, 1967, Louis Washkansky became the first human being ever to undergo a heart transplant, in an operation performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard, in Cape Town, South Africa. Washkansky survived for 18 days with the new heart.