I am going to speak to you about Dr Victor Chang, an Aussie Legend. He was a passionate and caring person, who was a great role model.
I think he is a hero because of his selfless acts of kindness and what he did in pioneering heart transplants in Australia and saving lives.
He was one of Australians best Cardiac Surgeons, and many Australian people has been saved by his developing an artificial Heart Valve.
There are many types of heart disease:
• coronary artery disease (heart attacks, heart muscle disease)
• heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
• congenital heart defects which are present at birth
Dr Chang’s memory lives on as the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute continues it’s great work. Dr Chang was “passionate about the power of discovery. He had a bold vision to establish a world-class medical research institute, knowing that while he could save hundreds of lives through surgery, he could save thousands more through research”. (https://www.victorchang.edu.au/about-us/victor-chang) The Institute is one of the most respected research facilities in the world. It is dedicated in finding cures for cardiovascular disease.
Dr Victor Chang was Chinese/Australian and he believed that if you did good on this earth you would be rewarded in heaven.
Born Victor Peter Chang on the 21st November 1936 in Shanghai China, he grew up in Hong Kong before moving to Australia to live with extended family.
He attended Belmore boys school and then went on to complete his secondary education at Christian Brothers high school in Lewisham, New South Wales.
Dr Chang completed medical studies at the University of Sydney and did his residency at St Vincent’s Hospital. He trained in the United Kingdom and the United States as a surgeon.
1. Willing to Lead By Example
He returned to Australia in 1972 as a staff cardiothoracic surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital.
He worked with Dr Harry Windsor and Dr Mark Shanahan, who had performed Australia’s first heart transplant in 1968.
Dr Chang helped to establish the National Cardiac Transplant Unit which was the leading centre for heart and lung transplants in Australia. He also arranged for medical and nursing staff exchanges between St Vincent’s hospital and hospitals in South East Asia. His diplomacy influenced a positive relationship between Australia and Asian countries.
Dr Chang became concerned about the shortage of organ donors, so he set about designing an artificial heart valve and an artificial heart assist device. He led a team who had a high success rate in performing heart transplants. The artificial heart was almost finished when Dr. Chang was killed in 1991.
From a young age Dr Chang was determined to make a difference. He started a research institute because he knew he would save lives. In 1984 he led a team of surgeons who performed a heart transplant on school girl, Fiona Coote. At the age of 14, Fiona became Australia’s youngest heart transplant survivor.
He made a difference to millions of lives even to this day. Victor Chang’s mother, May Chang passed away from Breast Cancer at the age of 33. Many people believe this is what sparked Dr Chang’s interest in medicine.
Dr Chang was awarded Australia’s highest honour in 1986, a Companion of the Order of Australia. In the year 2000, he was voted Australian of the Century.
3. Sense of humour/character
Dr Chang inspired confidence. He was a compassionate person who had a good sense of humour, but he was also humble, shy, and very private.
Victor was a strong Christian.
He died in tragic circumstances in Sydney on 4 July 1991. He was shot dead on a footpath at Mosman in Sydney’s northern suburbs, in a failed extortion attempt by Chew Seng (Ah Sung) Liew and Choon Tee (Phillip) Lim.
Liew and Lim were found guilty of murder and were jailed for a maximum of 26 years and 24 years respectively.
The tragic and untimely death of a gifted, well respected surgeon prompted a national outpouring of shock and grief in the community.
He is remembered as a quiet man, who was loved by his patients, friends, his wife Ann and his children Vanessa, Matthew and Marcus.
The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is dedicated to his memory.