Lithuanians in the News
8th July, 2007
The Very First Cochlear Implant Recipient, Holly McDonell, Graduates in Law
Holly McDonell on graduation day
Twenty years ago Australian Lithuanian Holly McDonell made medical history as the first person in the world to receive a cochlear ("bionic ear") implant. Just a few weeks ago the now 24-year old Holly McDonell graduated from Sydney University with First Class Honours in Law. The cochlear implant, developed by Professor Graeme Clark of Melbourne University, has made a tremendous difference in her life, allowing her to live, study and graduate from university as any normal person. Holly has been very grateful to both Professor Clark and the surgeon Professor Bill Gibson, who carried out the implant operation for her.
Holly’s mother Viktorija Janavičius-McDonell has been very active in promoting understanding of cochlear implants around the world (please see Community/People section on this website). SLIC website has also featured Holly’s grandparents, artists Jurgis and Jolanta Janavičius (in Culture/Arts).
It is interesting to note that other Lithuanians have been prominent in pioneering transplant operations. The first heart transplant operation was carried out by Professor Christiaan Barnard in South Africa in 1967 and the very first person to receive a heart transplant, Louis Washkansky, was born in Lithuania.

Further information: "Mūsų Pastogė" 27/06/07   "The Daily Telegraph" 16/06/07