Prof Heinz Rode - Burn Hero 2013

About Emeritus Professor Heinz Rode

MBChB Pretoria MMed (Surg) Pretoria  FRCS (Edinburgh) FCS (SA) 

Burn Hero 2013 

Widely regarded as the leading academic and practical burn surgeon in South Africa, Prof Rode has received substantive financial support for research in the areas of trauma, neonatal surgery, oncology and burns. He has been a notable ambassador – presenting eponymous lectures, as visiting professor to numerous universities internationally and serving on the editorial boards of leading paediatric surgical journals.

At home he has served African people and emerging surgeons with uncommon dedication and vision during a paediatric surgical career spanning over 34 years. For many years, he headed up the burns unit at Red Cross Children’s War Memorial hospital, the only paediatric burns unit on the continent where he treated more than eighty thousand children with burn injuries. Since he ‘retired’ in 2007, he has continued his work, full-time, at the hospital, training young surgeons in the art and practice of paediatric burns with the aim of transferring burn care responsibilities to them in the future.

Prof Rode was the driving force behind the establishment of the Pan-African Paediatric Surgical Association and initiated the acceptance of surgeons from Africa to train under the auspices of the University of Cape Town. He developed a Fellowship in Paediatric Surgery through the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa and established the EMSB course in South Africa. In 1995 he began running a free clinic at Michael Mapongwane Hospital in Khayelitsha, for patients who do not have the means to get to Red Cross Children’s Hospital for treatment. This is the only surgical clinic for paediatrics run by a surgical specialist in the Western Cape region at primary health care level.

He has influenced countless lives and careers through his teaching and research work since joining the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in 1975 where he served the University of Cape Town and the Provincial Administration in various capacities, including:

  • Senior Specialist in Paediatric Surgery
  • Chief Specialist and Charles F.M. Saint Professor
  • Head of the Department of Paediatric Surgery at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and the University of Cape Town

Prof Rode has written one book and is currently writing two additional books – a history of paediatric surgery in South Africa; and a surgical manual for paediatric burns. He has contributed 51 chapters to leading international textbooks and has published 270 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He holds honoury membership from the Australia/New Zealand Burn Association and PASA has honoured him with a named lecture. He has received an array of awards that are a testimony to his leadership and vision, notably:

  • The Golden Jubilee Award from the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa for outstanding services to medicine
  • The Zora Janzekovic Golden Razor Award for outstanding services to burned children
  • South African Burn Society Lifetime Achievement Award for contribution to burn care in South Africa


Offices held:

  • President of the South African Association of Paediatric Surgeons
  • President of the South African Burn Association,
  • President of the Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Southern Africa. 
  • Secretary of SAAPS,
  • Secretary of Finance and General Purpose Committee of the Colleges of Medicine
  • Secretary of the European Club for Paediatric Burns and the
  • Secretary of the Pan-African Paediatric Surgical Association. 
  • Examiner and convener of examinations for the Colleges of Medicine
  • Executive Member and Secretary of the College of Surgeons
  • Member of the Senate of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa.
  • EXCO member of the World Federation of Associations of Paediatric Surgeons
  • African representative of the British Association of Paediatric surgeons.
  • Member of the rehabilitation committee of the International Society for Burn Injuries