A Piece of My Mind
November 23/30, 2011

The Perfect Match

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Urology, Kidney Transplant Program, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (jblumberg@mednet.ucla.edu).

JAMA. 2011;306(20):2197-2198. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1710

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The first successful kidney transplant was indeed a perfect match, performed in 1954 by Dr Joseph Murray at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital between identical twins Richard and Ronald Herrick. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) did not exist at that time; matching of the twin donor-recipient pair was confirmed when a small donor skin graft from Ronald was not rejected by Richard. And while the surgical principles of kidney transplantation have barely changed since that historic December day, the way in which we match recipients with their eventual donor has become very complicated.

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