Dr. Barth Green, Famed Neurosurgeon & Longtime Chairman Of The Miami Project To Cure Paralysis, Is Retiring

After decades of treating thousands of patients, world-renowned South Florida surgeon, Dr. Barth Green, performed his final surgery on Friday morning and received a touching tribute from his colleagues.

Video Transcript

- Dr. Barth green has been taking care of patients here in South Florida for decades. But today, the renowned surgeon performed his final surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital. And now that he's retiring, his colleagues gave him a very befitting tribute. CBS 4's Frances Wang with the details.

FRANCES WANG: Over 50 years and more than 15,000 surgeries later, Dr. Barth A. Green, getting a standing ovation following his last. And he's taking in this moment.

BARTH GREEN: I think the most important thing is what I was taught by one of my mentors here, is the past his history, the future a mystery. Each day is a gift, that's why they're called the present.

FRANCES WANG: Dr. Green may be retiring from his surgical practice, but he'll still have a busy future serving as the Executive Dean for Global Health and Community Service at the University of Miami Health System.

BARTH GREEN: I believe that the opportunity to help people will be even greater now than being tied up in the operating room for 30, 40 hours a week.

FRANCES WANG: And Dr. Green has many layers. He has many stories you wouldn't have imagined outside of the surgery room.

BARTH GREEN: I was kidnapped in Medellin, Colombia by the [INAUDIBLE] the Medellin cartel. I was the doctor of the leader of China after the Cultural Revolution [INAUDIBLE], who was paralyzed. I was in Russia, being followed by the KGB. So I've had a very exciting life.

FRANCES WANG: He certainly has. He also has quite a sense of humor.

BARTH GREEN: I wouldn't change anything except my age.

FRANCES WANG: At the core, Dr. Green is someone who cares deeply for his patients and always aims to connect medicine with humanity. In 2012, we were there with him in Haiti, following his project Medishare, which opened one of the only critical care hospitals in the country, saving countless lives.

BARTH GREEN: I'm not sure that I changed the world. But I like to treat patients like family.

FRANCES WANG: And speaking of family, it's his family who, despite all of this fanfare, he says keeps him humble on a daily basis. After long days in the surgical room, he says he has to go home, and before he gets to eat he has to clean Up dog poop. So you know what they say, happy wife, happy life. From JMH, I'm Frances Wang, CBS 4 News.

- Words to live by. I learned that one a long time ago.

- Absolutely. What a career congrats to him.