First Human Kidney Transplant

The first human kidney transplant is performed by Dr. Joseph E. Murray at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in 1954.

Not concerned about whether they were making history or not, Murray was quoted as saying “We didn’t think we made history. We didn’t even think of history.  We thought we were going to save a patient.”

On October 26, 1954, Richard Herrick was admitted to Brigham with chronic nephritis, and it soon became evident that he was going to die. Richard’s twin brother and best friend, Ronald, agreed to give one of his healthy kidneys to his brother. Extensive testing was carried out, including a successful skin graft from Ronald to Richard and fingerprinting of the brothers at a local police station. Richard thrived after surgery, and married his recovery nurse.  They had two children together. Read the details of this essential bit of medical history.