Dr. James West: The Transplant Pioneer Who Helped Others to Get Sober

Dr. James West would have earned a spot in medical history solely on the basis of his signature achievement as a surgeon. In 1950, West was part of the team at a Chicago-area hospital that was responsible for the first successful human kidney transplant (in this case, into Ruth Tucker, who was in danger of dying from polycystic kidney disease). Drugs to suppress the immune system and prevent it from rejecting a transplanted organ didn’t yet exist, so the transplant …