October 29, 1999

Transplantation at Vanderbilt: Giving new life

Featured Image

In 1991, Dr. C. Wright Pinson (center), Dr. Kelly Wright (left) and other members of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center performed Middle Tennessee’s first-ever liver transplant, to patient Julie Damon. (photo by John Howser)

Transplantation at Vanderbilt: Giving new life

Editor's note —

Nearly half a century has passed since the world's first transplant — a kidney transplant by Dr. Joseph E. Murray of Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston in 1954.

The first transplant procedure performed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center took place in 1962 and within nine short years, the institution was celebrating its 100th kidney transplant.

Other milestones followed: the first pancreas transplant in Tennessee in 1985; the first successful heart/lung transplant in the Southeast in 1987; the formal establishment of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center in 1989; the first single-lung transplant in 1990; and the first liver transplant in 1991.

Next month, on Dec. 1, the Vanderbilt Transplant Center will celebrate its first decade of service with a series of lectures and a dinner honoring U.S. Sen. Bill Frist.

In a special series starting in this issue and running throughout November, the VUMC Reporter joins that celebration by spotlighting several aspects of the Transplant Program. Readers will learn about its history of the program as well as new ideas about the future of transplantation to go along with the compelling stories of several transplant survivors. This week’s stories begin on page 3.

Nationwide, more than 65,000 patients are waiting for organs, but there are fewer than 10,000 organ donations annually.

For those waiting, it's a race against time.

And for those involved in the Vanderbilt Transplant Program, it's a shot at giving new life.