Sir Magdi Yacoub gave the Lister Oration on October 28 at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, after which he was presented by the Acting President, Mr. Steve Cannon, with the Lister Medal. The oration was entitled “The Glory and Threat of Science and Medicine”.
The Lister Medal is awarded every three to five years and is considered the most distinguished award in surgery in Great Britain and Ireland but is not confined to surgeons from those countries. It was founded by the Royal Society as a lasting mark of respect for the pioneer surgeon, Joseph Lister (1827 – 1912). His work on antiseptic surgery revolutionised surgery and provided the basis for modern sterile surgery. The award is selected by a Committee with members appointed by the Royal Society, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow, and the Society of Academic and Research Surgery.
Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub received this award for his outstanding contribution to surgical science, in particular, to aspects of cardiac surgery and cardiac transplantation. He established at Harefield Hospital the largest cardiothoracic transplant programme in Europe and performed the first heart and lung transplant in the UK. His research activities have included tissue engineering of heart valves, myocardial regeneration and development of novel left ventricular assist devices.
In addition to his vast contributions to the clinical side of cardiac surgery, he also was responsible for establishing the Chain of Hope Charity which treats children with correctable cardiac conditions from developing countries. The Charity has established a number of cardiac centres in Africa, where local surgeons are trained with a major input from Professor Yacoub and his colleagues.
There is no question that Magdi Yacoub was an outstanding awardee of the prestigious Lister Medal, the 27th awardee since its establishment nearly 100 years ago.