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50 Years of Organ Transplantation in Kentucky


It's been half a century since the first organ transplant operation was performed in the commonwealth.  The University of Kentucky last week commemorated the milestone during the 50th Anniversary Transplant Symposium.


Dr. Bruce Lucas has been active in Kentucky's organ transplant program for decades, first as a surgeon, but also as an advocate for the donor registry program.  The state's first organ transplant occurred 50 years ago when a mother donated a kidney to her son.  Lucas says in adulthood, the man received another kidney from a deceased donor.  "It's very gratifying to know that the very first person receiving an organ transplant in the state of Kentucky managed to live into the 21st century," said Lucas.


Lucas performed a kidney transplant operation in 1996 on Lexington resident David Burgio.  Burgio says today, about 1.5 million people are listed on the state's donor registry.  He says the ultimate goal is for every Kentuckian to sign up.  "Well, the ideal number would be the entire population and hopefully that will be an achievement someday," said  Burgio.


Dr. Lucas says organ rejection and scarcity of donors continue to be at the top of the list of concerns.?

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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