Tuesday, January 4, 2011

World's first organ donor dies a hero

Kidney location after transplantation.The recently reported that the world's first organ donor has passed away at the age of 79 in Maine. In 1954, Ronald Lee Herrick was a living kidney donor for his twin brother who was suffering and dying from chronic nephritis (kidney inflammation). The surgery was the first ever successful transplant and gave Ronald's brother eight years of life he would not have had otherwise.

According to the article, World's First Organ Donor Dies Aged 79, before the successful transplant from Ronald to his brother, organ transplants had been attempted by doctors all over the world. All of them failed. However, The Herrick's successful transplant led to thousands of additional kidney transplants and ultimately to the successful transplants of other organs.

Ronald grew up in Massachusetts and served in the U.S. Army. He was a hero in more ways than one. The report says that he insisted on donating the kidney to his brother, because, "He was the only one who could save his brother's life." His love for his brother not only saved his brother's life but spurred the improvements in technology that have successfully saved thousands of lives since that miraculous day 56 years ago.

Thanks Ronald. I am one of them who is alive because of you. You are a hero.

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