Marius Barnard (surgeon)

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Marius Barnard
Marius Barnard (1968).jpg
Marius Barnard (1968)
Born Marius Stephanus Barnard
3 November 1927
Union of South Africa
Died 14 November 2014(2014-11-14) (aged 87)
Education University of Cape Town
Years active 1950–2001
Known for cardiac surgery and political reforms
Relatives Christiaan Barnard
Medical career
Profession Surgeon
Institutions Groote Schuur Hospital
Specialism Cardiothoracic surgery
Heart transplantation

Marius Stephanus Barnard (November 3, 1927 – November 14, 2014) was a South African cardiac surgeon and inventor of critical illness insurance.[1][2]

Barnard was a member of the team headed by his brother Christiaan Barnard that performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplantation in 1967.[3] Specifically, he was one of the surgeons who removed the heart from donor Denise Darvall at Groote Schuur Hospital.[4][5] After a 2009 documentary film Hidden Heart suggested that Hamilton Naki removed the donor heart, Barnard was quoted as describing the film as "rubbish, a joke, it’s a total distortion of the facts"[6] and as stating that Naki was at the time "in his bed, about 8 km away from Groote Schuur".[7]

Barnard was motivated by the financial hardship he saw his patients suffer after he had treated their critical illnesses to convince the South African insurance companies to introduce a new type of insurance to cover critical illnesses. Barnard argued that, as a medical doctor, he can repair a man physically, but only insurers can repair a patient's finances.[8] On 6 August 1983 the first critical illness insurance policy was launched.[9]

Barnard was a member of the South African parliament between 1980 and 1989, for the Progressive Federal Party - one of the few political parties that opposed apartheid. He later acted as a technical consultant for Scottish Widows.[3] Barnard has received many awards for his contributions to medicine and humanity, and was voted in the top 25 most influential people in the field of health insurance and protection.[10]

He died on November 14, 2014.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, pp. 11–12, 29, 10 October 2007 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, p. 29, 10 October 2007 
  4. ^ "Hamilton Naki. Apartheid's shadow. How an inspiring life became distorted by politics", The Economist, 14 July 2005, retrieved 14 August 2010 
  5. ^ "Department of error", Lancet, 366: 548, 13 August 2005, doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(05)67097-3, retrieved 14 August 2010 
  6. ^ Berger, Sebastien (4 June 2009), "Inspiring tale dismissed as 'rubbish'", The National (Abu Dhabi), retrieved 14 August 2010 
  7. ^ October, Alicestine (2 June 2009), "Dokkie 'verdraai' Barnard-verhaal", Die Burger, retrieved 14 August 2010 
  8. ^ HEALTH INSURANCE (PDF), 1996, p. 78 
  9. ^ Defining-Moments-Memoir-Marius Barnard, p. 323 
  10. ^ "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, pp. 27, 29, 10 October 2007 
  11. ^ Bembridge, Ryan (14 November 2014). "Critical illness pioneer Marius Barnard dies". Mortgage Introducer. Retrieved 15 November 2014. 
  12. ^ Holt, Natalie (14 November 2014). "Architect of critical illness cover passes away". Mortgage Strategy. Retrieved 15 November 2014.