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In Memory of Dr. Leonard Bailey


Dr. Leonard Bailey, a renowned Loma Linda University Health surgeon who performed heart transplant surgeries on 376 infants and served as a consultant to physicians around the world, died Sunday, May 12, 2019 at the age of 76 following a battle with cancer.

One of the 376 patients that Bailey performed a heart transplant surgery on was Hannah Grinnan. In 1998, Hannah was born with a defective heart and required a heart transplant. After 11 days, the Grinnan family received the news that a heart was available for Hannah. Thanks to LifeStream blood donors who provided multiple units of blood for Hannah, Dr. Bailey successfully performed the heart transplant. Check out the video to see how Dr. Bailey, his team, and LifeStream blood donors made a difference in Hannah’s life.

Bailey also received international media attention in 1984 for transplanting a baboon’s heart into a human infant known as “Baby Fae.” Although the patient died 21 days later, his work led to other cardiac treatment breakthroughs including the first successful human infant-to-infant heart transplant.

During his 42-year career at Loma Linda University Health, Bailey served as a distinguished professor of cardiovascular and thoracic surgery and of pediatrics at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and surgeon-in-chief at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. In addition to the hundreads of successful heart transplant surgeries he performed, Bailey’s work also consisted of all types of pediatric and infant open-heart surgeries.

Leonard Lee Bailey was born on August 28, 1942, in Takoma Park, Maryland, and graduated from the nearby Columbia Union College (now Washington Adventist University) in 1964. He later earned an MD from Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1969.

Bailey is survived by his two sons. His wife Nancy, MS, a graduate of the Loma Linda University School of Nursing, preceded him in death on Sunday, April 7.

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