Feb 232020

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for; it is a thing to be achieved.”

William Jennings Bryan

How far do you all know about Dr Victor Chang, Australia’s most gifted Heart Surgeon? I guess may be a little or nothing, Isn’t it!? Well, no worries. Today I am here to tell you all about the Humanitarian and a pioneer of modern heart transplant surgery, Dr Victor Chang in detail. Let us begin with his life details including schooling, marriage, higher studies, etc.

Who is Dr Victor Chang?

Dr Victor Chang, Australia’s national hero and hailed as the most prominent doctor in Southern Hemisphere for his revolutionary work or great efforts in the Heart Transplantation field. He saved hundreds of lives of cardiac patients not only just in Australia but also served in Southeast Asia around the globe.

His Personal Details

The full name of Dr Victor Chang is Dr Victor Peter Chang, born in 1936 21st November and died at the age of 54 in 1991 4th July holding Australian nationality. He was murdered and the cause of death was Ballistic Trauma. He is well known for pioneer of heart transplantation in medical field as his profession was heart surgeon. Cardiothoracic surgery and heart transplant are the sub specialities in his field plus his research areas include: Development of an artificial heart valve with the formation of Pacific Biomedical Enterprises in Singapore.

He was also awarded with the most prestigious and country’s highest honour award, ‘Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)’. This is such a prestigious award appointed to the individuals for conferring the highest recognition in serving the nation, Australia or for humanity services at large scales.

Marriage Life: He was married to Ann Simmons (m. 1968-1991) on April 20 1968.

Early Life and Education

Dr Victor Chang was the eldest of the three children of parents-Aubrey Chung Fung (later Aubrey Chang), merchant, and his wife May, née Lee, natives of New South Wales on 21 November at Shanghai, China. As the Sino-Japanese War flare up suddenly, May and Aubrey decided to shift to Burma, then settled in Sichuan province of China, where Victor commenced primary education. After civil war resumed in 1945 Aubrey re-shifted his family to Hong Kong, where Victor attended the Kowloon Tong Primary School and St Paul’s College until 1950. After his mother’s death (due to breast cancer) in 1948, Victor moved to Sydney along with his sister while his father continued travelling on business schedules. His mother died, prompting him to build his career in Medical field and as he was very close to his mother, he continued his studies considering medicine as his career. He had been to Belmore Boys’ High School and Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham, and completed his secondary education before he pursued Doctor’s Degree at University of Sydney in 1956. In 1961 Victor graduated with Bachelor of Medical Science with first class score and continued his studies to achieve other two degrees including Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery in 1963.

Medical Career

Victor received a common wealth scholarship and started doing research for two years as an intern and finally in 1965, he became the registered cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Further he got an opportunity to train with British surgeon Aubrey York Mason at Brompton Hospital in London for Chest Disease. Eventually Victor became a senior surgeon with enough professional practice at FRCS (Fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons) in 1966. In London, he met his wife Ann Simmons and got married in 1968. After spending two years of his service at Mayo Clinic in United States, he became the chief resident. During his stay at Mayo Clinic, U.S.A., he received or awarded Fellowships to the Royal College of Surgeons, the Australasian College of Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. Then in 1972, Victor returned to St. Vincent’s Hospital (where earlier he was a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon) and joined his cardiothoracic team, which already counted in Dr Harry Windsor and Dr Mark Shanahan.

Surgical Career

During this time, in 1980 Victor lobbied government, businessman, and politicians to raise funds in order to establish a heart transplant program at St. Vincent’s Hospital with the development of anti-rejection drug, which made heart transplants more feasible. Finally, after Victor’s lobbying, the commencement of National Heart Transplant Program happened in 1983 and hence the only man behind the establishment of National Heart Transplant Program at St. Vincent’s Hospital was Dr Victor Chang in 1984.

Later under this program and Victor along with his team of doctors, conducted first heart transplant surgery on 8 April 1984 at St. Vincent’s Hospital on a 14-year-old Fiona Coote, Australia’s youngest heart transplant patient. Later on Chang’s team operated 197 heart transplants and 14 heart-lung transplants during the period of 1984 and 1990 with the success rate of 90%. And in 1986, Victor received Australia’s most prestigious and highest honor, a Companion of Order of Australia (AC), in recognition of his great efforts and service to international relations between China and Australia and even in medical science. He travelled extensively in Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore to give lectures on medical and scientific studies and its researches. Victor was the President and Founder of the Australasian-China Medical Education and Scientific Research.

Foundation, which sponsored and offered helping hand to the South-East Asian doctors, students, and nurses to work in Australia. This foundation also helped them to get back to their countries and provide quality patient care and treatment to the patients in their own countries.

On July 4th, Victor was murdered by two Malaysian men and this tragic incident had happened in 1991. The murder of Victor, who is respected for his kindness, talent, and dedication towards his work made the nation outpouring with grief. And during his tragic death time, his team of doctors had performed 22 heart-lung transplants, 266 heart transplants, and six single lung transplants. With the good success rate of 92 percent heart transplant patients survived one year after surgery and 85 percent survival rate of heart transplant patients for five years after surgery, the Chang’s team had become one of the most successful doctor’s team in the world in the field of heart transplants.

Dr Chang also played a key role in developing an artificial heart valve and an artificial heart assist device. He was a caring and humanitarian surgeon, more passionate about the power of discovery with a bold vision of establishing a world class medical research institute, so that he could be able to save more lives through surgery and more and more through research. In regards to his great efforts in his career of heart transplants, The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is dedicated to his memory.

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institutes was established in remembrance of Dr Victor Chang on November 23rd 1993 with the generous financial support of $3 million from the Australian Federal Government, $2 million from the Australian public, and $3 million from Mr. Kerry Packer, AC. You will observe bronze statue of Dr Victor Chang outside the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute sculpted by Linda Klarfeld. Do you wish to support the team of The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute or you want to know more about this institute; Click here

 In addition to this research institute, Dr Chang is remembered through the Dr Victor Chang Science Building at Christian Brothers’ High School, Lewisham, and the Victor Chang Heart Institute and Research Centre, Hyderabad, India. The University of South Wales conferred a doctorate of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) for his academic and humanitarian achievements in his career in the year 1988. After eight years of death, in 1999 Dr Victor Chang was voted Australian of the Century at the People’s Choice Awards.

How Dr Victor Chang does looks like?

Dr Victor Chang is five feet and eight inches or 173cm tall with jet black hair, bushy eye brows, and button nose. He wears gold rimmed glasses and impeccably neat dressing. He was gifted with an inspired confidence through his engaging smile, talent of sound clinical judgement, and obvious compassion. The other generous qualities that describe him as a cool and great person includes being humble, shy, and private, polite to everyone, and good sense of humor. Do you think he is only interested and passionate about surgeries!? If so, you went wrong. He had many other interests apart from surgeries such as cars, spending time with family, Chinese action movies, and model making.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Science Award

Yes, there is an award on the name of Dr Victor Chang called “Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Science Award”. The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Science Award nomination forms are sent to all the Area Local Government High Schools, Blacktown for students in year 11. Nominations are open every year in September and presentation held in November. For more information: Click here

Heart Disease Facts

  • Cardiovascular disease accounts for 39% of all deaths in Australia (more than all cancers)
  • 4 times more women die from heart disease than breast cancer
  • Nearly twice as many children die each year from congenital heart diseases compared to all childhood cancers combined
  • Cardiovascular disease costs Australia $14.2 billion every year
  • Dr Victor Chang has operated over 1200 successful heart and heart-lung transplants since 1984. Whoa!
  • Did you know!? It was believed that Dr Victor Chang was the optimistic and most supreme surgeon globally.

The above stated facts are gathered from the study done by Dr Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute 2007.

Dr Victor Chang Timeline: The Timeline of Dr Victor Chang was created by Ierol in Biography.

How much we talk about Dr Victor Chang, it is still less to describe him, his revolutionary work towards heart patients, and his humanitarian nature- This is what I feel. Many people love Victor Chang as a cool and charming person, including his parents, family, and friends. He has got a lot of respect from Australians and he is the real hero to them. He found his purpose in life in Australia and his tireless work made him become one of the Australia’s heroes. But the entire world owe him a lot and also should never ever forget his efforts and revolutionary work.

“We should, as a country, spend more money in cardiovascular research. Research in Australia is grossly under-funded compared with other western countries.” –Dr Victor Chang

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