February 10, 2006
CONTACT: Rick Cushman
Invitation to Cover
On February 10, 1966, Dr. Clyde Barker performed the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s first kidney transplant, a pioneering procedure at the time. Since then, Penn’s Transplant Center has developed into one of the top-10 programs nationally in terms of volume and outcomes.
In 1965, then 20 year-old Howard Mehl was told he was suffering from end-stage kidney failure. Facing a lifetime of dialysis or death, Howard turned to his brother Joe, who was found to be a perfect organ donor match. Joe didn’t hesitate to volunteer one of his two healthy kidneys. The operation was an immediate success. He was released from the hospital that April, and aside from a few sporadic episodes, has had no complications from the surgery.
Forty years later, Howard is the longest surviving kidney transplant recipient with a working graft in Pennsylvania and ranks 14th overall in the world. He continues taking the same medications at nearly the same dose as was first prescribed after being stabilized. Howard is 62 years old and has had three children since his surgery. He currently runs a catering business in Delaware County, PA, with his wife Lia.
Penn’s Transplant Center is looking forward to expanding its already excellent patient care with the Transplant House initiative. The Transplant House will be the first of its kind in Philadelphia, offering a home away from home for the families of transplant patients. The house will offer rooms to families of waiting transplant patients for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room in a major city like Philadelphia. A kitchen will also be available to prepare low-cost, nutritious fare. Some of the groundwork has already been laid in the effort of making this vision a reality -- including an initial allocation of funds from Penn’s Department of Transplantation, and the appointment of a steering committee. In the future, additional fundraising events will be held to help raise awareness of this much-needed patient asset.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt
of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News &
World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical
schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School
of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training
of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic