Page 4: Recognition and later life
Barratt-Boyes, Brian Gerald
Doctor, cardiac surgeon
This biography, written by Jill Wrapson, was first published in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in 2011.
Awards and fellowships
Recognition of Barratt-Boyes’s service to the world of cardiac surgery was evidenced by the many awards and honours he received from within New Zealand and overseas. He was knighted in 1971, having been made a CBE in 1966. Barratt-Boyes was the first person to be awarded an honorary professorship of the University of Auckland. In 1968 he received the Lions International Special Humanitarian Award, the only such award made in New Zealand, and in 1995 became one of the few living New Zealanders to feature on a postage stamp.
Honorary fellowships included that of the American College of Surgeons (1977), the Royal College of Surgeons (1985) and the American College of Cardiology (1989). Barratt-Boyes was also appointed an honorary member of the Indian Association of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgeons. Other awards included a Sir Arthur Sims Commonwealth Travelling Professorship (1982), a DSc awarded by Colorado University (1985), the René Leriche prize of the Société Internationale de Chirurgie (1987) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Award for Excellence in Surgery (1994). In 2005 he was awarded the Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award. He was president of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand from 1986 to 1988.
A private person, Barratt-Boyes spent his limited spare time at his farm, Green Hills, at Waiwera, north of Auckland. In 1982 he met Australian lawyer Sara Rose Monester while on a trip to Sydney. His first marriage was dissolved in 1986, and on 11 April 1986 at Green Hills he married Monester, with whom he retired to his farm, and later to Auckland’s North Shore.
Illness and death
Ironically, Barratt-Boyes suffered from heart disease himself. He battled to give up smoking, but in 1974 he underwent a double bypass operation by Green Lane colleague Alan Kerr. Kerr operated again 10 years later, replacing the original grafts and repairing another coronary artery. Barratt-Boyes died at Cleveland, Ohio, US, on 8 March 2006 of complications following a final cardiac operation. He was survived by his second wife, Sara, and his former wife, Norma, and their five children. A legendary figure in the world of cardiac surgery, his influence spanned the globe. He was, according to one of his patients, ‘a great surgeon, a great doctor and a compassionate man’.1