Mississipi and Magnolia flower icon

June 11, 1963: Surgical Breakthrough at The University of Mississippi Medical Center

Posted on

Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 3:53pm


Jennifer Ford

The University of Mississippi Medical Center opened in Jackson, MS in 1955, but its beginnings date to 1903 when a two-year medical school was established on the parent campus in Oxford. The Jackson campus has been home to some of the greatest innovations in cardiothoracic and transplant surgery, including two of the world’s first organ transplants by Dr. James D. Hardy.

Doctors at the UM Medical Center performed the state’s first heart surgery in 1959. Only four years later, Dr. Hardy and a team of surgeons would build upon this momentum by transplanting a human lung into the chest of a 58-year-old man on June 11, 1963, which was the first surgery of its kind in the world. Seven months later, Dr. Hardy would again make history by transplanting a chimpanzee heart into a man. Sadly neither of the two patients survived long-term (the lung transplant patient died of renal failure 18 days after transplantation, and the heart recipient survived only 90 minutes) but these were breakthroughs in the field of surgery. The Hardy Clinical Sciences Building on the campus of the Medical Center houses the James D. Hardy Library which contains copies of all the doctor's articles, books and even films of the first transplants.

Featured below is an image of the cover of the original 1955 dedication program for The University of Mississippi Medical Center. This program is part of the University archival collections held in the University of Mississippi's Department of Archives and Special Collections

1955 Dedication Program of the University of Mississippi Medical Center