A transplant obit is cause to commemorate as we also mourn

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Last week brought news through the Associated Press of the death of Ronald Lee Herrick, the first man ever to successfully provide an organ to another patient in a transplant operation. One of Herrick’s kidneys was implanted into his identical twin brother in December 1954. His brother lived for another eight years after the operation. Herrick’s surgeon, Joseph Murray, later received the Nobel Prize.

Herrick’s death is a reminder both of the miraculous advances in surgical procedure which have taken place in recent decades and of the development of pharmaceuticals to ward off or treat transplant rejection, such as cyclosporin and rapamycin. ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom observes that these drugs are vital to current life-saving medical practices in which organs of all kinds are regularly transplanted into completely unrelated people.