Google celebrates today Victor Chang, in the 87 years since its birth. And she does it with a doodle, the animation that sometimes replaces the Google logo on the search engine’s home page, created by Australian artist Lucy Pescott. But who was Victor Chang, considered a national hero in Australia? In two words: he is the one who innovated heart surgery in Australia and was a pillar of heart transplants with the invention of a low-cost heart valve that made heart transplants more accessible even in lower income countries. His techniques have saved thousands of patients around the world.
by the Salute editorial staff
Chang was the son of Chinese-British parents born in Australia. At the age of 12, when his mother died from breast cancer, he became interested in medicine and graduated from the University of Sydney in 1962. He then went abroad, to the United States and also to Great Britain, before returning to Australia as a heart surgeon in 1972 helping to create the main heart and lung transplant center. In 1984 – the year he performed the first heart transplant in Australia, followed by another 190 in the following seven years – he founded the Victor Chang Foundation, which funds research, financed the development of new drugs and treatments for heart disease and awards scholarships to aspiring surgeons from South-East Asia for training at the Saint Vincent hospital, the one where he operated.
In 1986 he received Australia’s highest award, the Companion Order of Australia, for his service to medical science and was named one of the one hundred most influential Australians by the Sydney Morning Herald. He is considered one of the greatest cardiothoracic heart surgeons of the twentieth century and it is thanks to him that Australia has become a world leader in the treatment of heart disease. Chang died on July 4, 1991, killed during an attempted robbery in Sydney