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A 1960 Virginia landmark transplant was performed with a heart stolen from a black man



On May 25, 1968, surgeons in Richmond, Virginia, performed a successful operation heart transplant, one of the first in the world, into a white businessman. The heart they used was taken from a black patient named Bruce Tucker, who was taken to the hospital the day before, unconscious and with a cracked skull and traumatic brain injury. He was reported brain dead less than 24 hours later.

Tucker’s still beating heart was later removed without his family’s knowledge or prior permission; Their appalling finding – from the local funeral home director – that Tucker’s heart went missing was a devastating blow.


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