Over the past 25 years, thousands of patients' lives have been transformed by liver, kidney, and pancreas transplants at University of Colorado. Given this recent history of success, many people would be surprised to learn that it took a visionary effort on the part of one doctor to bring our transplantation program back from the dead in 1988.
The program had been closed eight years earlier, in part because of the difficulties plaguing organ transplantation at the time: long operations in which the patients could lose over 10 gallons of blood, difficulties with organ rejection, and discouragingly short survival rates. In spite of these obstacles, Dr. Igal Kam had the courage to revive the program, overcoming his colleagues' skepticism and ultimately paving the way for the successes of the past two decades.
In the UCH Insider articles below, you can read Dr. Kam's story. And don't forget to watch the video above (right) for a candid and sometimes comical tribute to Dr. Kam by his colleagues, employees, and his mentor Thomas Starzl.
Nearly two decades after receiving a liver transplant, Jon Zeschin came down with a sudden, severe sickness and found himself in the emergency room at University of Colorado Hospital. To his astonishment, within an hour, he was being assisted by Dr. Igal Kam, who had performed his transplant surgery seventeen years earlier.
“Why didn’t you call me when you were sick?” Dr. Kam asked.
At that moment, Zeschin realized that Dr. Kam and his team in Transplant Surgery had made a lifetime commitment to his well-being.
Read the full story.
The Donor Dash is a 5K run/walk held each year in Denver’s Washington Park to honor the lives of organ and tissue donors, celebrate the lives of organ and tissue recipients, and recognize those who continue to wait for a lifesaving transplant. This year’s Donor Dash, held on July 21, 2013, broke another record with 4,700 participants. Watch the 9News story, which includes an interview with the Department of Surgery’s own Dr. Igal Kam.
Few of us have the opportunity in life to give our mothers a gift that truly expresses the depth of our love and gratitude. A young man from Loveland, Colorado, recently gave his mother the gift of a lifetime when a rare blood disorder put her in need of a kidney transplant.
The process began here at UCH, culminating in successful surgeries by our own Drs. Bak and Kam. Watch the video.
For patients experiencing kidney failure in the far corners of Colorado, coming all the way to Aurora to be evaluated at UCH can present a serious obstacle. Financial constraints, the difficulties of traveling while on dialysis, and other factors may prevent patients from making the trip. Yet for some of these patients, a transplant can be life-changing or even life-saving. To address this need, UCH has started a pilot program in which our doctors travel across the state to evaluate patients for suitability for organ transplantation. Read the full story in UCH Insider.
When Summer was in college, she was diagnosed with Wilson's Disease, a rare metabolic disorder. At the time of her diagnosis, her doctors gave her seven days to live.
Fortunately, she received a lifesaving liver transplant at University of Colorado Hospital. Dr. Igal Kam, her surgeon, promised her that she would make a full recovery and go on to live a normal life.
Less than four months later, Summer was running in the Bolder Boulder 10k race. Watch the video.