Letters to the Editor

Medical pioneer

Regarding the recent passing of Dr. Joseph Murray, the Nobel Prize winning surgeon who performed the first successful transplant from a living donor in 1954 at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital:

Little is said about the first human organ transplant of a cadaver kidney, in 1950, (amid much public outcry), at the Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Ill.

The transplant was performed by Drs. James West, Richard Lawler and Raymond Murphy, (surgeons on the faculty at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine).

The operation was a last resort for the 44-year-old patient who had bilateral polycystic kidney disease.

The transplanted kidney functioned for about six weeks —enough time for her other kidney to begin working again. She lived another five years before succumbing to the disease.

Today, tens of thousands of transplanted organs are done with the help of anti-rejection drugs.