Heart-stopper award for Prof Baker

Professor Robert Baker, Director of Cardiac Surgery Research and Perfusion at the Flinders Medical Centre's Cardiac and Thoracic Surgical Unit.

One of the highest awards in the field of perfusion in heart and lung surgery, the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology’s John H Gibbon Jr Award, has been presented to Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University Professor Robert Baker.

The award is presented for contributions to the science and practice of extracorporeal circulation, a specialist field of medicine involving maintaining the circulation of blood and oxygen through the body during cardiac, cardiothoracic and other surgeries.

Professor Baker is the first Australian-based clinician to be awarded this honour.

“The Gibbon Award was a truly unexpected and an exceptional honour to receive from my peers,” Professor Baker says.

“The award, now in its 44th year, has literally been a who’s who of leaders in innovators in the field of cardiopulmonary bypass and I am certainly humbled to be the 2017 recipient.”

Professor Baker is the Director of Clinical Perfusion and Cardiac Surgery Research at Flinders, and was a foundation member of the team to commence cardiac surgery at Flinders in 1992.

Health Minister Jack Snelling told the SA Parliament (30 May) that the FMC Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery Unit undertakes around 600 cardiac and 200 thoracic procedures each year for patients from South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“It is widely recognised both nationally and internationally for its cardiac surgery program and it has particular expertise in cardiac surgery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients,” Mr Snelling told Question Time.

“The unit’s research team, led by Professor Baker, has worked collaboratively on the local, national and international stage to achieve better outcomes for patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

“I commend Professor Baker for his dedication to improving and advancing his chosen medical field, contributing to saving the lives of countless patients,” Mr Snelling said.

The international perfusion award was established in 1974 and recipients include innovators and leaders in the field of cardiac surgery such as Dr Michael DeBakey and Dr Denton Cooley. The award is named after John H Gibbon Jr, an American cardiac surgeon who invented the heart-lung machine.

Professor Baker chairs both the International Consortium for Evidence-Based Perfusion and the Australian and New Zealand Collaborative Perfusion Registry.

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