1964 : Michigan’s First Kidney Transplant

March 30, 2023 all-day

Michigan’s first kidney transplant took place at the University of Michigan, when 15-year old Janice Ottenbacher received an organ from her identical twin sister  Joan on March 30, 1964.

Janice was dying, her kidneys failing. Joan agreed to donate a kidney. And as their parents waited anxiously, the twins successfully survived the first kidney transplant done in Michigan.

Fifty years later, both are healthy and thriving. They both became nurses, got married, had children and grandchildren.

Since the twins’ transplant in 1964, the University of Michigan Transplant Center has done more than 10,026 organ transplants, of which 1,065 were for pediatric patients. Only about a dozen centers nationwide have done that many procedures.

U-M has one of the oldest and largest transplantation programs in the country and U-M surgeons perform transplants of hearts, lungs, pancreases, livers, kidneys, and corneas. About 400 to 450 transplants are done at U-M annually, mostly kidney transplants followed by liver, heart, lung and pancreas.

More information about becoming an organ, tissue, bone marrow or blood donor is available at www.wolverinesforlife.org.

Sources :

Michigan History, March/April 2015

“First transplant recipients to help celebrate U-M Transplant Center’s 50th anniversary” University of Michigan Medical Center News Release, May 27, 2014.

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