Tributes paid to heart surgeon
Published 08/10/2010 | 15:22
Pioneering heart surgeon Maurice Neligan has been remembered as an outstanding medic who helped save hundreds of lives.
The high-profile doctor, well known for his campaigning for patient care, died suddenly at his home in Blackrock, south Dublin, aged 73.
Tributes have poured in for the former Mater Hospital and Crumlin Children's Hospital consultant who carried out Ireland's first heart transplant in 1985.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has said Mr Neligan was the "first superstar" of Irish medicine renowned for his gentle nature, his realism and his colourful opinions on health and politics.
"He was a deeply compassionate Irishman, proud of his profession and caring of his family," he said. "Ireland will be the poorer for his passing."
Mr Neligan performed the first open-heart surgery for congenital problems in 1974 as well as the first coronary artery by-pass graft in 1975.
As well as serving the Mater Hospital between 1971 and 2002 and Crumlin Children's Hospital between 1974 to 2002, he also co-founded the private Blackrock Clinic.
During his time at the Mater, around 1,200 patients a year received cardiac care with up to 250 undergoing life-saving heart transplants.
Bryan Harty, chief executive of Blackrock Clinic, has said his staff were very attached to Mr Neligan and very upset by the news of his death.
"He was a larger-than-life character," he said. "It took people with his sense of drive and vision to get the hospital going."