Starzl is at heart – and other organs – of all
By Justin Isherwood
T. E. Starzl is not a name that comes to the mind as the average intense diminutive man that has more to do with our lives, the length and quality of those lives, than any Hollywood star. In your wallet, on the back of your driver’s license, is our nation’s dedication to Dr. Tom Starzl, the organ donor statement.
Dr. Starzl died in March at 90 years old, after a lifetime of pioneering organ transplant, immunosuppression, organ preservation, tissue matching and transplant procedures. Dr. Starzl is at the heart, lungs, kidney, liver of every modern citizen. At his retirement in 1991, he was the chief of transplant services at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh, the largest, busiest transplant center in the world.
Transplantation has been a dream of medicine and mankind since Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly explored the concept in her 1818 novel “Frankenstein.” Efforts to transplant appear in the historical record as early as 1000 B.C., when an Indian surgeon detailed instructions of how to skin graft.
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