Victor Chang – Asian immigrant and pioneer of Australian heart surgery


Dr Chang became Australia’s greatest and arguably the best heart surgeon of this country. Born in China in 1936 and emigrating to Australia in 1951 after losing his mother to cancer when he was just 12 years of age, Chang had already decided at that tender age to become a doctor. After graduation and specialisation in heart surgery, Dr Chang began working at St Vincents Hospital in Sydney where he set up the first Australian heart transplant speciality centre. In 1984 a young girl by the name of Fiona Coote, who herself became well known as a community ambassador, came to the fore after Dr Chang carried out a successful heart transplant on her. Chang thereafter spent many hours in the redevelopment of artificial hearts and the introduction of new surgery techniques in an effort to increase the success rate of heart transplants . Unfortunately Dr Victor Chang was killed before the introduction of his new artificial heart. Although there can be no way of replacing Dr Chang there is a little of him that lives on in the many people whom he helped.