The Transplant Team

The Transplant Team

Herrick Twins Seated in Front of the Transplant Team, December 1954, Kitsap Sun, USA Today

Joseph Edward Murray

Joseph E. Murray, 1990, Nobel Prize Archives ​​​​​​​

Joseph E. Murray and Thomas J. Krizek, 1985, ACS Bulletin - American College of Surgeons ​​​​​​​

Joseph E. Murray recieving Nobel Prize for contribution to organ transplants,

1990, Center for the History of Medicine at Countaway Library, Harvard University. 

Joseph Edward Murray  was born on April 1, 1919 in Milford, Massachusetts. From his earliest memory, he wanted to be a surgeon and relieve people from sufferings. He graduated from Harvard Medical School with a bachelor's degree in 1943. Murray began as a plastic surgeon at Valley Forge General Hospital (VFGH) and performed skin grafts. His knowledge about nephrology along with his medical background proved that he was qualified to perform the transplant.

"Thus, in one of my earliest experiences as a surgeon, I had reconstructed a badly damaged face and had taken an organ—in this case, skin—from one person and transplanted it to another. Although I did not know it then, those two themes would come to dominate my professional life. Half a century later, I would watch as others fused the two themes into one with the advent of face transplantation—but I’m getting ahead of the story."

~Joseph E. Murray, The Fight For Life, Harvard Medical School

John Putnam Merrill

Dr. John P. Merrill, 1969, Le Prix Canada Gairdner Awards

John Putnam Merrill was born in Hartford, Conneticut on March 10, 1917. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1938 and Harvard Medical School in 1942. He interned at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and served in the Air Force as the flight surgeon on the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Merrill later helped develop the artificial kidney hemodialysis machine to treat acute renal failure. His contribution and research about the kidneys granted him the title, "Father of Nephrology".

John Hartwell Harrison

Dr. Harrison giving a speech, March 20, 1959, University of Virginia Library

John Hartwell Harrison was a urologist, a doctor who specializes in studying and treating functions and diseases in the urinary system. His knowledge on the excretory system allowed him to proceed in the surgery with precision and care. 

"I returned from the war to the Brigham and Harvard Medical School, recruited by the brilliant young chairmen of the departments of surgery and medicine—Francis Moore ’39 and George Thorn—to help them pursue a radical dream. Moore and Thorn were determined to cure chronic kidney failure, a disease that, at that time, was a death sentence. Another young recruit, John Merrill ’42, had modified a dialysis machine that could temporarily filter the blood in place of kidneys that had stopped working; back then, though, dialysis could not provide long–term support for kidneys that had permanently shut down. Moore and Thorn were convinced that kidney transplantation could be a viable treatment for permanent kidney failure, and they wanted me to be part of a team to turn their dream into a reality."

​​​​​​​~Joseph E. Murray, The Fight For Life, Harvard Medical School