Samuel L. Kountz

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Samuel L. Kountz
BornOctober 20, 1930
DiedDecember 23, 1981
Great Neck, N.Y.
Alma materStanford University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas
Known forKidney Transplants, Kidney Research, discoveries, and inventions
AwardsFulbright Award
Scientific career
FieldsKidney Transplants
InstitutionsStanford University Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital

Doctor Samuel Lee Kountz, Jr. (October 30, 1930-December 23, 1981) was an American kidney transplant surgeon from Lexa, Arkansas. He was known for his work in the field of kidney transplants, and in research, discoveries, and inventions in Renal Science. In 1961, He performed the first successful Kidney transplant between humans who were not identical twins. He was also a member of a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, who developed a device that can preserve kidneys for up to 50 hours from the time they are taken from a person's body. It is now used in hospitals and research labs around the world.[1][2][3]

Early life and career[change | change source]

Samuel Lee Kountz first became interested in medicine at the age of eight, when he went with an injured friend to a local hospital for emergency treatment. He says he was so moved by the way the doctors' helped his friend, that he decided from that moment to become a doctor.[4] During his senior year of high school, Kountz had met Senator J. William Fulbright, who had once been president of the University of Arkansas. The senator was so impressed by Kountz's energy and enthusiasm, that he urged him to consider the medical school at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Kountz applied but was turned down. He spent the next two years finishing up his graduate work in chemistry at the university's Fayetteville campus. He did so well that he was awarded a full medical scholarship, and in 1954 became the first black student to be admitted to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.Kountz completed a master's degree in chemistry in 1956; two years later he received his M.D. He spent the next year as an intern with the Stanford Service of San Francisco General Hospital. In 1959, he began his surgical training at the Stanford University School of Medicine. It was at Stanford that he studied in organ transplants, and decided to make transplant surgery his life's work. In 1976 Kountz performed a kidney transplant on live television, The Today Show and inspired some 20,000 viewers to offer their kidneys to patients who needed them. In 1972 Kountz had been appointed Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department at the State University of New York's Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He also served as Surgeon-in-Chief of Kings County Hospital. The University of Arkansas awarded him the honorary Juris Doctor in 1973. Doctor Kountz also developed the largest kidney transplant research and training program in the country at the University of California, San Francisco.

Illness and death[change | change source]

Doctor Kountz contracted a brain disease while on a speaking tour in South Africa that left him bedridden and unable to talk or care for himself. His illness was never diagnosed, and he died on December 23, 1981, at the age of 51. At the time of his death, he had personally performed some 500 kidney transplants, the most performed by any physician in the world at that time.[5][6]

References[change | change source]

  1. "- Stanford School of Medicine". Archived from the original on 2017-06-13. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  2. Journal of the National Medical Association, September 1978.
  3. New York Times, December 24, 1981.
  4. ""A human healer from Arkansas", African American Registry". Archived from the original on 2017-01-26. Retrieved 2017-04-10.
  5. Summation of the Third International Samuel L. Kountz Symposium on renal disease and transplantation in blacks - U.S.National Library of Medicine.
  6. Encyclopedia of Arkansas.