In 1967, Christiaan Barnard performed the first human to human heart transplant. The donor, Denise Darvall, was left brain dead after a car crash. The recipient was the Cape Town grocer Louis Washkansky. With the help of immunosuppressive drugs, Washkansky’s body accepted the heart. The drugs also affected his immune system. Eighteen days later, he contracted double pneumonia and died. The first heart transplant is a tragic story on many levels. The very idea of surrendering your heart to another person has passionate and spiritual associations, especially in the English Renaissance.
The early modern physician Jacques Ferrand noted how falling in love afflicted the heart with melancholy. In particular, the man’s heart causes melancholy by transforming the woman’s beauty into an unkept promise of feverish lovemaking. The liver and genitals are also responsible continue reading