Dr Joseph Murray, the surgeon who carried out the first successful kidney transplant and later won a Nobel Prize for his work, has died at the age of 93. Dr Murray died in Boston on Monday after suffering a stroke last Thursday. Murray and his team completed the first human organ transplant in 1954, taking a kidney from one identical twin and giving it to his twin brother, opening a new field in medicine.
Pioneer: Dr Joseph Murray, the surgeon who carried out the first successful kidney transplant, has died at 93
More than 600,000 people worldwide have received transplants since Murray's innovation. Dr Elizabeth Nabel, of Brigham and Women's Hospital where Dr Murray completed his training and returned to serve as chief of plastic surgery, said: 'The world is a better place because of all Dr Murray has given. 'His legacy will forever endure in our hearts and in every patient who has received the gift of life through transplantation.' Later in his career, Murray continued to search for ways of suppressing a patient's immune response to prevent it from rejecting foreign tissue, eventually becoming a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1990.
Revolutionary: Identical twins Edith Helms, left, and Wanda Foster, right, of Oklahoma, pose with Murray in 1996 at a ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1956 operation during which Edith received a kidney from her sister, Wanda
Son Rick Murray said his father was a 'great man'. He said: 'Difficulties are opportunities. This is a quote that sits atop my father's desk at home. It reflects the unwavering optimism of a great man who was generous, curious, and always humble.' Murray began his career in medicine after graduating from Harvard Medical School in the 1940s, and developed an interest in transplanting tissue while working with service personnel injured in World War Two. He completed his surgical training at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and later returned to join the staff and serve as chief of plastic surgery. He learned his craft during World War II, treating badly burned soldiers. By performing skin grafts on troops, he realised the biggest obstacle in the procedure was the immune system's rejection of foreign tissue
Making history: Richard Herrick, front left, and his twin brother Ron, front right, pose with doctors, from top left, Joseph Murray, John Merrill and J. Hartwell Harrison, in 1954. Murray was lead surgeon in the first successful organ transplant in which Ron donated a kidney to Richard
With broad interests beyond medicine, Murray said told the Nobel Prize organisation that he and his extended family had been 'blessed in our lives beyond my wildest dreams.' My only wish would be to have 10 more lives to live on this planet. If that were possible, I'd spend one lifetime each in embryology, genetics, physics, astronomy and geology,' he said. 'The other lifetimes would be as a pianist, backwoodsman, tennis player, or writer for the National Geographic.'
PIONEERING OPERATION THAT GAVE PATIENT EIGHT PRECIOUS YEARS AND USHERED IN A NEW MEDICAL ERA
Source: Daily Mail UK