"My donors have always tended to do much better than expected"
Cosmas & Damian
Public DomainCosmas & Damian

The practice of transplanting organs and body parts has a lengthy pre-history; this picture, which dates from the sixteenth century shows a donor leg being attached to a patient by two third century saints, Cosmas and Damian.  However, it was not until the twentieth century that organ donation moved from the preserve of miracle workers to the realm of scientific possibility.  The first successful organ transplant, of a kidney, was carried out by Joseph Murray in 1954, and in 1967 Christiaan Barnard achieved the milestone of a successful heart transplant.