Marius Barnard (surgeon)

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Marius Barnard
Marius Barnard (1968).jpg
Marius Barnard (1968)
Marius Stephanus Barnard

3 November 1927
Died14 November 2014(2014-11-14) (aged 87)
EducationUniversity of Cape Town
Years active1950–2001
Known forcardiac surgery, inventing critical illness insurance and political reforms
RelativesChristiaan Barnard
Medical career
InstitutionsGroote Schuur Hospital
Sub-specialtiesCardiothoracic surgery
Heart transplantation

Marius Stephanus Barnard (3 November 1927 – 14 November 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 14 November 2014 after battling with prostate cancer.[11][12]


  1. ^ "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, pp. 11–12, 29, 10 October 2007, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ Uwechue, Raph (20 December 1991). "Africa Who's who". Africa Journal Limited – via Google Books.
  3. ^ a b "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, p. 29, 10 October 2007, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  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), archived from the original on 27 May 2014, retrieved 14 August 2010 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ October, Alicestine (2 June 2009), "Dokkie 'verdraai' Barnard-verhaal", Die Burger, retrieved 14 August 2010
  8. ^ HEALTH INSURANCE (PDF), 1996, p. 78[dead link]
  9. ^ Defining-Moments-Memoir-Marius Barnard, p. 323
  10. ^ "Heart to Heart" (PDF), CoverTen, Incisive Financial Publishing, pp. 27, 29, 10 October 2007, archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011 Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ Dolley, Caryn (15 November 2014). "Top heart surgeon Marius Barnard dies". Independent Online. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  12. ^ Holt, Natalie (14 November 2014). "Architect of critical illness cover passes away". Mortgage Strategy. Retrieved 15 November 2014.