The Era of Transplantation

  • Thomas S. HellingEmail author
  • Daniel Azoulay


The sinewy, intense character with a quick, disarming smile who prowled the halls of the new, modernistic Colorado General Hospital spanning Ninth Avenue in downtown Denver and its neighboring Veterans Hospital had been invited by the University of Colorado’s Chair of Surgery, William Waddell to fill the Chief slot in surgery at the Denver Veterans Affairs Hospital. Doctor Waddell had recognized a streak of brilliance in the young Thomas Starzl, alerted to his accomplishments by his dear friend Ben Eiseman at the University of Kentucky, viewed by many as an indispensable talent scout for up-and-coming surgeons. Doctor Starzl had already become enthralled by the liver from his days in training at the University of Miami. He was fascinated by this “enormous and silent reddish-brown organ” that hid so many secrets of its purpose over the centuries and punished those foolish enough to venture into its deepest recesses [1]. In particular, one of the most challenging problems for surgeons of the era was the patient with cirrhosis who bled so copiously from large, fragile collateral veins engorged because of portal hypertension, the body’s attempt to reroute blood around a scarred and obstinate liver. The enigmatic shrunken, blemished liver was the crux of the problem. Liver replacement was the inescapable solution. Little else was possible without major ramifications, few of them desirable. Such horrible hemorrhages in these desperately ill patients captivated the young Starzl and would launch his career in liver surgery (Fig. 12.1).


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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA
  2. 2.Centre Hépato-BiliaireHôpital Universitaire Paul BrousseVillejuifFrance

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