UMMC restoring films of Dr. Hardy's groundbreaking surgeries - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

UMMC restoring films of Dr. Hardy's groundbreaking surgeries

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It was an era unlike any other in medical history at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

One man leading a scientific team on an ambitious mission. The first successful human lung transplant in the world.

The genius behind the vision? Dr. James Hardy.

Dr. Ralph Didlake is the last Hardy-trained surgeon hired at UMMC. "He was a pioneer not only in transplantation healthcare but in medical education."

There are nearly 200 16mm film rolls from Dr. Hardy donated to the Rowland Medical Library at UMMC.

Archivist Connie Machado says the films date back to the late 1950's. "We're not even sure what's on them except from the description we have."

Meaning, they don't know if the ground-breaking first ever heart transplant in 1964 is recorded to film.

But they do know what's on one film from 1963, and it will be the first to be restored. "He was a 58 year old man who had to have a lung transplant and they successfully transplanted the lung. He lived for about 18 days afterwards," Machado said. 

The challenge in restoring these historic films is they're fragile, according to Machado. "The teeth will no longer fit on a projector. A lot of these films are full of splices and the splices have degraded so they all need to be re-spliced."

With the help of the Department of Archives and History, the library has found a company to restore the first film but the process won't be cheap.

A grant has been obtained to fund the first one for about $5,000.00. "They'll redo them and preserve them and we'll have them available on DVD and we can make them available for his historical surgeries that helped with transplants across the country and the world," Machado said.

It will be a lengthy undertaking. And one, Dr. Didlake said, representing Dr. Hardy as not only a pioneer in surgery but also media documentation.

"They represent the history of medical education or the use of media in medical education. Today we take multimedia education for granted.

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