Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub
United Kingdom, Born 1935
“I consider myself privileged to be able to serve science and medicine in a global fashion, because science and medicine know no boundaries,” says Professor Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub. A recognized leader in the field of heart and lung transplants — he has carried over 2,600 transplants, more than anyone else — the Egyptian-born heart specialist is hailed as one of the world’s most respected cardiac surgeons for his pioneering techniques.
Influenced by his surgeon father and by the death of an aunt from heart disease in her 20s, Magdi Yacoub decided as a boy to become a heart surgeon. He entered the Cairo University College of Medicine at the age of 15 on a full scholarship and, following qualification in 1957, trained in the U.S. and Europe. In 1962, he moved to England where, over the next four decades, he held senior positions at leading London hospitals and carried out 20,000 open-heart operations. In 1986, he was appointed as the first British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, a position he still holds.
Today, Sir Magdi, the author of over 1,000 scientific articles, continues his groundbreaking work as research director of the Magdi Yacoub Institute and through his international charity, Chain of Hope, which cares for poor children from war-ravaged countries. He also returns regularly to Egypt to treat children with heart conditions free of charge.
Sir Magdi, who was knighted in 1991 and elected to the Royal Society in 1998, views international health-care delivery as a top priority along with his research. The dedicated surgeon still performs six or seven operations a week and, in his spare time, raises orchids and listens to Bach, an abiding passion.
Published in 2006