Thursday, August 09, 2007
Suture.... Scalpel.... QUICK.... Duct tape!
During the early 70's while I was at Stanford University I was very fortunate to become acquainted with both Dr Christiaan Barnard and Dr Norman Shumway both whom were involved with the pioneer days of the first heart transplants in humans. The first heart transplant in human beings was done in South Africa in 1967 by Dr Christiaan Barnard and the patient only lived 18 days. Most of the research that led to successful heart transplantation took place at Stanford University under the leadership of Dr Norman Shumway. Knowing how involved I was with automobiles I used to tease Dr Shumway about his profession. On several occasions I asked him why doctors couldn't fix everything on humans considering we have not changed in design in thousands of years. On the other hand mechanics are expected to know how to repair anything that ails a car and as we all know cars by design change every year.
The truth is they were both truly great guys and I was blessed simply for having known them as friends. It's important to realize both of them were so much more than doctors it seemed and they always asked questions... "What does that part do? Explain to me how it works." You couldn't help but think they were always looking for something new to replace the human heart with. And even more amazing is to realize how far we have come today because of the two of them. The last time I saw Dr Shumway was at his home in Palo Alto about ten years ago when I picked up his car to work on it.
Today as I brought my engine back to the shop to reunite it again with Lucky and I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to show it off to those two awesome guys. I am sure they would both be smiling like I was as we started preparing the empty cavity in the front of Lucky in an effort to hear him come back to life again.
On another note I would like to mention something ironic. While I was reminiscing about all this my phone rang only for me to learn my shop foreman's father had suffered a serious heart attack and was in surgery. On behalf of California's Best Team and business and our employees I want to send our best prayers and thoughts to him and his family and wish him a speedy recovery.