It’s been more than 30 years since the first transplant was performed at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, launching a program that has saved thousands of lives.
Back then, “Dr. Goran Klintmalm was 34-years-old and living in Sweden. Liver transplants were considered human experimentation, a last-ditch effort with an 80 percent fatality rate to save a life that would end without the procedure. Medicare and Medicaid didn’t reimburse for it, nor did many insurance providers,” writes Matt Goodman on the D Healthcare Daily blog.
But Baylor Dallas leadership was undeterred. And the timing was such that a sick little girl from Indiana who had already made friends with then-first lady Nancy Reagan was flown to Dallas for a liver transplant.
“It’s the challenge that makes us take these steps, to go forward where no one else has dared to go,” Klintmalm, chief and chairman of the Baylor Simmons Transplant Institute, told D Healthcare Daily. “I don’t care if that’s climbing the North Face or Yosemite or setting sail and traveling from Portugal to the Americas, it’s the challenge that makes people do things that are out of the ordinary.”
That transplant recipient who started it all, Amie Garrison, was just 5 years old at the time. The fascinating story of what brought her here is told in this video, which includes a recent interview with Amie and her father, Gerry Garrison.