Dr. John L. Ochsner, Sr.; A Life and Legacy

Dr. John Lockwood Ochsner, Sr., was a world renowned cardiac surgeon, who served patients of Ochsner Health System for nearly six decades. Dr. Ochsner received his medical degree from Tulane University, completed surgical residencies and served as Chief Surgical resident at Baylor University Affiliated Hospitals and Texas Children’s Hospital.

In 1961, Dr. Ochsner returned to New Orleans and joined the Ochsner team. In addition to treating thousands of patients, Dr. Ochsner trained the next generation of physicians as a clinical professor at the Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Ochsner pioneered valve and coronary surgery – demonstrating innovation and forward thinking throughout his illustrious career. Dr. Ochsner spent recent years continuing to serve the Ochsner community as a strong philanthropic supporter. Dr. Ochsner saved the lives of thousands and impacted countless physicians, patients and community members.

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Significant Milestones through the Years

  • 1961: Joined the staff at the Ochsner Clinic
  • 1966: Appointed chairman of the Department of Surgery
  • 1970: Performed the first heart transplant in the Gulf South
  • 1971: Led the expansion of Ochsner Medical Center cardiovascular services, which served as the foundation to the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute
  • 1974: Implanted a heart pacemaker in a newborn - the youngest patient ever at that time
  • 1990: Named Rex, King of Carnival
  • 2000: Received the Michael E. DeBakey Surgical Award – bestowed to only 16 of the world’s most outstanding surgeons
  • 2018: First recipient of the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute Award of Excellence

Accomplishments by the Numbers

  • Served Ochsner patients for over 57 years
  • Performed more than 12,000 surgeries
  • Successfully performed a pacemaker implantation on an 18-hour old newborn, who weighed just 9 pounds, 2 ounces
  • Authored more than 300 medical publications, journals and books
  • Only person to hold the three most prestigious cardiovascular honors:
    • President of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery
    • President of The International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery
    • Chairman of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery

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