Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub scooped the top prize at this week’s star-studded Pride of Britain awards. Sir Magdi, who was a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Harefield Hospital for more than 20 years, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the celebrity-packed event that was broadcast on ITV yesterday evening.
The Pride of Britain awards honour members of the public for truly outstanding achievements. Sir Magdi was singled out for his unending commitment to heart and lung transplantation and for advancing the boundaries of scientific research.
In their coverage of the glittering awards, the Daily Mirror said, “…If there was one man capable of providing a finale to such riches of the human spirit, it was heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub…It [is] impossible to imagine the sheer numbers of people who owe their lives to this one man. Few of us will wake up tomorrow capable of being a Magdi Yacoub, a man legendary even amongst his peers.”
Sir Magdi, 71, has performed more transplants than anybody else in the world - saving thousands of lives across the globe. In total, he has performed approximately 20,000 life saving heart operations. The professor, originally from Egypt, moved to Britain in 1962 and took up his first consultant position at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex. The hospital soon became renowned as the world’s leading transplant centre performing more than 200 transplants per year.
In 1983, Sir Magdi became the first person in the UK to perform a double heart and lung transplant. In 1987, he went on to pioneer and perform the UK's first domino heart transplant - where a patient receiving heart and lungs donates their own heart to someone else. Sir Magdi is also credited with performing an operation on the UK's youngest heart transplant patient at just 10 days old.
Dr Gavin Wright, consultant anaesthetist at Harefield Hospital, outlined why he has been privileged to work closely with him. Dr Wright said, “Sir Magdi is an incredibly skilled 'thinking' surgeon with vast experience in all spheres of cardiac surgery, ranging from babies to the elderly. He operates on extremely complex heart lesions that many other surgeons would not even attempt. This is what makes him so special."
Sir Magdi is also professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, and founder and director of research at The Magdi Yacoub Institute at the Harefield Heart Science Centre which is dedicated to research into heart disease. In 1995, he founded the Chain of Hope charity which provides children suffering from life-threatening diseases in the developing world with corrective surgery and treatment. The charity estimates that the lives of 1,000 children have been saved so far thanks to their work.
To view highlights from the awards, visit the Pride of Britain’s website at www.prideofbritain.com or ITV’s website at www.itv.com More about the Chain of Hope can be found at www.chainofhope.org