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Iowa History Daily: March 4 - Starzl & the First Liver Transplant

Iowa History Daily: On March 4, 2017, Dr. Thomas Starzl passed away. Originally from LeMars, Starzl performed the first human liver transplant, and often gains fame as "the father of modern transplantation."

Son of newspaper editor and science fiction writer Roman Frederick Starzl and Anna Laura Fitzgerald, a teacher and a nurse, Starzl decided to study medicine after his mother died from breast cancer in 1947. After attending Westminster College in Missouri and Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago, Starzl went on to train in surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. 

Starzl performed the first human liver transplant in 1963, as well as the first successful human liver transplant in 1967, both at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Also credited with development of multiple technical advances in organ preservation, procurement and transplant, Starzl built a legacy as an innovative surgeon and doctor.

A documentary, entitled "Burden of Genius,"covering the medical and scientific advances spearheaded by Starzl himself, released in 2017. Dr. Starzl also penned an autobiography, "The Puzzle People: Memoirs Of A Transplant Surgeon," which came out in 1992. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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