This Day In Science June 17, 1950 – First successful kidney transplant operation was performed

STRESSMARQ BIOSCIENCES | Leslie Reitveld
Photo Credit: [Little Company of Mary Hospital]
Dr. Richard Lawler, Dr. James West, and Dr. Raymond Murphy
On June 17th 1950 Dr. Richard Lawler performed the first successful kidney transplant. The recipient was Ruth Tucker, a 44-year-old woman who had polycystic kidney disease (PKD).

PKD is a genetic disorder that causes the development of multiple fluid-filled cysts typically in both kidneys. Tucker had watched her sister and mother die of the same condition.

A transplant was risky but the only real option for survival for Tucker, as dialysis was not yet widely available. The donor kidney was removed from a patient who had died of cirrhosis of the liver.

“Not the most ideal patient, but the best we could find,” said Dr. Lawler after the surgery. The transplant surgery was quick, and 45 minutes after removal of the kidney from the donor the operation was complete. Tucker was released from the hospital a month later. Continue reading
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