The man who performed the first heart transplant in the Gulf South has passed away in New Orleans. Doctor John Ochsner conducted over 12,000 surgeries during a 57-year career. He passed away at the age of 91.

President of the Ochsner Health System, Warner Thomas, calls Doctor Ochsner an icon in the industry.

“He was a world-renowned surgeon, an incredible healthcare leader and a civic leader in the greater New Orleans as well.”

Thomas says Doctor Ochsner pioneered valve and coronary surgery and received the prestigious Michael E DeBakey Surgical Award in 2000. He says Doctor Ochsner’s patients had the utmost respect for him.

“Would always comment on his incredible bedside manner and his ability to take on the most difficult clinical cases with amazing outcomes.”

Doctor Ochsner’s father, Alton Ochsner, helped found the Ochsner health care system. Doctor John Ochsner stopped performing surgeries at 75-years-old but was still involved with the clinic on a daily basis.

“Whether you liked it or not John had an opinion on things and would always share it with you, and I have to say a very high percentage of the time he was right and it was always identifying things that we could do better.”