Leonard L. Bailey

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For other people named Leonard Bailey, see Leonard Bailey (disambiguation).
Leonard L. Bailey
Born Leonard Lee Bailey
1942 (age 72–73)
United States
Fields Surgery, Pediatric Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, and Cardiothoracic Vascular Surgery
Institutions Loma Linda University Medical Center
Alma mater Loma Linda University
Hospital for Sick Children
Notable awards Castle Connolly America's Top Doctors® 2002 and Patients' Choice Award 2008.

Leonard Lee Bailey (born 1942) is a board-certified surgeon with expertise in several areas and chief of pediatric heart surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center. Bailey performed the first xenotransplantation procedure on October 26, 1984, when he placed the heart of a baboon into the chest of "Baby Fae", an infant born with a severe heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Her true identity was kept strictly confidential, so the moniker "Baby Fae" was disseminated throughout world media sources until her mother later revealed her full name: Stephanie Fae Beauclair. Baby Fae only lived 21 days before she died, but this event marked the dawn of infant heart transplants, although baboon and other non-human hearts are no longer used. Still, the additional 21 days was seen as an improvement over the 2–10 day life expectancy of those babies with HLHS.

The Baby Fae case, and Bailey's role in it, has been a popular case study in the realm of medical ethics. Bailey did not look for a human heart for Baby Fae. There were questions over whether parents should be allowed to volunteer children, and whether the parents themselves were properly informed by Bailey. A human heart had been available on the day of the surgery; also Fae's mother had no medical insurance and the xenograft was offered for free. When asked why he had picked a baboon over a primate more closely related to humans in evolution, he replied "Er, I find that difficult to answer. You see, I don't believe in evolution."[1] Charles Krauthammer, writing in Time, said the Baby Fae case was totally within the realm of experimentation and was "an adventure in medical ethics."[2] Ultimately, the American Medical Association and top medical journals criticized Bailey.[1]

Bailey has also performed a number of prominent heart transplantations including Baby Moses and Baby Eve.[3] Baby Moses is the oldest living infant heart transplant recipient. Bailey was the keynote speaker at the Baccalaureate ceremony for La Sierra University on June 13, 2010.


  1. ^ a b Pence, Gregory E. (2008). Classic Cases in Medical Ethics (PDF) (5th ed.). Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ Charles Krauthammer, Essay: The Using of Baby Fae, Time, December 3, 1984, accessed May 28, 2013.
  3. ^ LLUMC Legacy: Daring to Care. Chapter 3 Perspective on Neonatal Heart Transplantation. Loma Linda University Medical Center [1]

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