Perspectives: Sam’s Perspective – Transplant

Hello everyone. Today you are going to hear a most unusual story and the result is not what you would expect. In more ways than one, it’s nothing short of a miracle. But first, a little background. Let’s go back to 1950, that’s the year Dr. Richard Lawler performed a first of its kind, life-saving kidney transplant on 49-year-old Ruth Tucker. The surgery took place in Boston’s Brigham Hospital. It was the first truly successful kidney transplant, from one patient to another. She was released from the hospital 30-days later. However, while the transplanted kidney helped restore normal kidney function in her remaining kidney, she died in 1955.
But she didn’t die as a result of kidney problems. Her cause of death of coronary artery disease. This all took place before tissue typing or immunosuppresive agents were developed.
Then on December 23rd. 1954, Dr. Joeseph E. Murry performed the first truly successful kidney transplant. 22-year-old Richard Herrick, a member of the Coast Guard was losing both kidneys. Dr. Murry took a healthy kidney from Ronald Herrick, Richard’s twin brother and the only person on the face of the earth that possessed a perfect match, and performed the transplant. It was successful and both men lived for many years afterward with no serious medical problems.
We’ve come a long way since those early kidney transplants. Now they are more or less routine. In fact the only organ we can’t transplant is the brain, but studies are underway on that as well.
So, why am I giving you this background?
Because two people you are about to meet have traveled this transplant road. But the result involves more than one miracle. I’m Sam Jones and I invite you to stay with me and hear their story. You won’t be disappointed.