Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award honours top trauma surgeon

Countless lives saved by surgeon’s hands and shared expertise  

Thursday, May 6 2021

An extraordinary contribution to the advancement of trauma medicine and a career’s worth of lives saved were recently acknowledged with the awarding of Netcare’s highest honour to renowned Gauteng trauma surgeon, Professor Jacques Goosen. 

“Over many years, Prof Goosen has placed his exceptional surgical skill and tremendous insight into trauma at the service of patients, saving countless lives from often catastrophic injuries,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“It is our privilege to present Prof Goosen with the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award, as a tribute to the outstanding contribution he has made throughout his illustrious career, spanning some four decades in both the private and public sectors.“

Founded in 2011, the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award pays tribute to doctors who practice at healthcare facilities within the Netcare Group and who have demonstrated leadership in their specific field while contributing to the advancement of the medical profession. 

Netcare way
Prof Jacques Goosen and his wife Marieta


“I am truly honoured to accept this Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award from the people of Netcare, an organisation which lives by respect, dignity and compassion, an ethos of true caring that is intrinsic to the Group under the leadership of Dr Richard Friedland,” Prof Goosen said in accepting the award at a ceremony held recently at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg.

“While I accept this award on behalf of others, I dedicate it to the patients and their families who say, ‘Thank you, doctor,’ not only in the moment of recovery, but also in the moment of ultimate grief.”

Prof Goosen attained his MBChB through the University of Pretoria in 1971, and in 1978 specialised in general surgery as a Fellow of the College of Surgeons of South Africa. After eight years in private practice in Welkom, he was appointed head of the surgical department at the Ernest Oppenheimer Hospital. 

He served as a senior specialist in the Wits trauma unit of the Johannesburg General Hospital, now Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH), where he continued his academic work and helped train other surgeons, many of whom came from around the world to learn from him, in specialised trauma techniques. In 1998, Prof Goosen started his long association with Netcare at the trauma unit of Netcare Milpark Hospital as a specialist surgeon on a part-time basis. 

From 2003 until 2012, Prof Goosen was the principal surgeon and head of the trauma unit at CMJAH. Since 2007 he has been an Adjunct Professor with Wits University, building South Africa’s capacity in trauma medicine.

In 2006 he was appointed director of the trauma unit at Netcare Union Hospital where he also practised as a specialist trauma surgeon. He was instrumental in developing systems that saw the hospital accredited as a level one trauma centre by the Trauma Society of South Africa – one of only four private facilities in the country to have achieved this. From 2008 to 2020, he also served as director of Netcare Mulbarton Hospital’s trauma unit.

“Achievement is never individual, but at all times the result of contributions by others. I accept this award on behalf of my friends at Netcare, in particular at Netcare Milpark, Netcare Union and Netcare Rehabilitation hospitals and Netcare 911,” Prof Goosen said. 

He expressed appreciation to the general manager of Netcare Union Hospital, Esme Abrahams, and a special thanks to Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager of emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment, whom he described as “the heart of trauma, emergency, disaster, and transplant healthcare in South Africa”.


“Above all, thank you to Marieta, my wife and partner, who keeps my feet on the ground,” Prof Goosen said. He also paid tribute to his colleagues in trauma medicine and other disciplines who work so closely together, united in their purpose of saving lives. 

Professor Goosen remains a staunch supporter of Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), South Africa, since 1992 when he started instructing, and served as Chairperson from 1998 to 2002. He was also a key member of the Strategic Review Committee for the World Health Organization’s Department of Violence and Injury Prevention. For four years until 2007, he served as Chairperson of the Trauma Society of South Africa.  

“One’s career passes rapidly from achievement, to service, to reflection. Over many years, one experiences deep satisfaction from seeing young people uncover their hidden talents, realising how good they really are, and surpassing the achievements of their mentors,” said Prof Goosen, who has invested decades in training other medical professionals.

“There is no need to fear for the future. It is in the hands of a critical mass of people who see the spirituality of our world, who choose to treat their fellow man as they wish for themselves; and accept their own fallibility.”

Group medical director of Netcare, Dr Anchen Laubscher, presented Prof Goosen with the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award, and warmly congratulated him on his numerous achievements, thanking him for his immense contribution to medicine. 

“The dedication Prof Goosen has demonstrated in pursuit of preserving human life has earned him international respect and the lifetime gratitude of many thousands of patients and their families. He has been incredibly generous in sharing his expertise and building quality trauma care. He is indeed a most worthy recipient of the most prestigious award with which we can present him, the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Award.”


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For more information on this media release, please contact MNA at the contact details listed below:

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact:     Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or 
Clementine Forsthofer
Telephone:     (011) 469 3016
Email:     [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
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