Friday, April 14, 2017

It Started with Starzl


In developing the lists of links you see at, I accidentally discovered an interesting site established by the University of Pittsburgh.  The site honors one of the most famous surgeons of modern history, Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, who is considered to be the "father of liver transplantation."

Dr. Starzl just recently (March 7) passed away at the grand old age of 90, and one might say he has multiple lifetimes of accomplishments to his credit, not to mention the number of lifetimes he has extended thru his research as a scientist and his skills as a surgeon. If you are interested in the history of organ transplantation there is plenty to find at this site.
Screenshot of The Official Dr. Thomas E. Starzl Web Site


I remember when most any kind of organ transplant was considered to be experimental, even when entirely successful.  Success used to be measured in just in getting a transplant recipient beyond a year of life with their transplanted organ.

Literally millions of years have since been added to what would have been the natural lifetimes of the people who have received the benefit of an organ transplant.  Despite this success, one must be reminded that if not for the thoughtfulness and kindness offered by so many donors and their families along with the loss of the times of their lives with their friends and family, none of the successes of organ transplantation would have been possible at all.

Now, almost fifty years later, just over 149,000 liver transplants have been performed in the United States alone.  A majority of recipients are living much longer than just a year and certainly longer than an organ transplant had not been an option.  Kidney transplants are far more common and when one adds the hundreds of thousands of all human organ transplants which have taken place around the world, organ transplantation seems "commonplace."

One could say it is a wonderful time to be living in such a "commonplace" world.  I do.