Cardiac Surgery before Jim Baird's appointment

There has always been a strong and interdependent relationship between the two services, Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Before the arrival in Wellington of specifically trained surgeons, a small number of cardiac surgical procedures were undertaken.

1944 : R.B. - a young male admitted to ward 22 with a chronic febrile illness.   Treated with sulphanilimide, (penicillin had yet to become available).
Noted to have a murmur.  Charles Burns, the hospital's cardiologist was consulted.
A diagnosis of persistent ductus arteriosus with infective endocarditis was made.

Charles Burns discussed the case with the Resident Surgeon, Herbert McNickle.

16 May, 1944. Ligation of infected PDA
Surgeon, Herbert McNickle assisted by Eric Luke
Patient fully recovered.

This was one of the first operations in NZ for PDA;  Five months later, Douglas Robb in Auckland would perform a similar operation for an infected duct, though that patient did not survive.