Organ and tissue donation is life-saving and life transforming medical process wherein organs and tissues were removed from a donor and transplant them to a recipient who is very ill from organ failure. It is said that one organ can save up to 10 people and may improve the lives of thousands more (Australian Red Cross Blood Service, 2011). Most of the donated organs and tissues came from people who already died but in some cases, a living person can donate organs such as kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs and some tissues such as skin, bone, bone marrow and cornea (Health Resources and Services Administration, 2013) as well as blood, stem cells, and platelets (Taranto, 2012). Over 100,000 US citizens are waiting for an organ donation but unfortunately for many of them, they would not be receiving any calls for a suitable donor nor a second chance at life (Mayo Clinic). This research will tackle the history of organ donation and transplantations and its likely contributions for future medical advancements.
2. History of Organ Transplants
2.1 Early Ancient History
The first organ transplants can be traced back to the ancient times where Ancient Greeks, Romans and Chinese myths features accounts of transplants accomplished by gods and healers which involves cadavers and animals though these claims were thought to be fictitious, Indian doctors may likely begun transplanting skin from one part of the body to another to repair wounds and burns around 800 B.C. It is during the 16th Century that Italian surgeon Gasparo Tagliacozzi, also referred to as the father of plastic surgery performed reconstruction of noses and ears by transplanting the patient’s own skin tissues from his arm to the patient’s nose and ears. He discovered that skin from a different donor would cause the procedure to fail which was later coined by his successors as “transplant rejection” (“Organ Transplants”, 2012).
2.2. Kidney Transplantations
There were several attempts done in Vienna in 1901 which involves transplanting kidneys in dogs, pigs, goats and calves however this procedure were found to be technical because of the lack of understanding on vascular surgical techniques, organ preservation and immunosuppression. It was in 1902, that Dr. Alexis Carrel developed a vascular surgical technique while attempting to transplanting kidneys to the neck of the dogs however, the attempts failed due to simple technicalities (Klintmalm, 2004). Mathieu Jamboulay, a French surgeon made a first attempt a transplant on two patients with renal failure through which he used a goat kidney to one patient, and a pig kidney into the other patient in 1906. Both attempts failed and the two patients died (Watson and Dark, 2012). In 1905, Austrian ophthalmologist Eduard Zirm successfully performed the world’s first corneal transplant.
It was in 1936 that Yu Yu Voronoy tried another attempt to perform a series of 6 kidney transplants and failed. It was until 1948 that Sir Peter...