On Aug. 9, 1969, a surgical team headed by Dr. Livingston Wong performed the first kidney transplant at St. Francis Hospital. Since then, more than 2,300 lives in Hawai‘i have been saved and transformed by organ transplants. To celebrate this remarkable milestone and the man whose vision drove it forward, St. Francis Healthcare System hosted a special event on Aug. 7 at its Liliha Campus.
Guests from The Queen’s Medical Center, The Queen’s Transplant Center, Legacy of Life Hawai‘i and the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai‘i honored Dr. Wong for his service and vision. The event was also a homecoming for many who had worked with Dr. Wong and those whose lives he had helped to heal and save.
Following Dr. Wong’s first transplant surgery, St. Francis Medical Center opened its kidney transplant program, which served as Hawai‘i’s only transplant center for 40 years. Through the years, the transplant program expanded to include kidney, liver, pancreas and heart transplantation. In 1978, Dr. Wong headed a team of physicians and technicians who performed the first bonemarrow transplant in Hawai‘i. Dr. Wong later established Hawai‘i’s emergency management system and is credited with raising the level of the statewide system to become one of the best programs in the nation.
Dr. Alan Cheung, director of the Queen’s Transplant Center, a transplant surgeon and close associate and friend of Dr. Wong, spoke to the more than 250 guests at the event. “Livi recognized the suffering and needs of patients with end-stage renal failure and quickly mastered the vascular access surgeries that were lifelines for these patients,” Dr. Cheung said. “He wanted to serve the needs of the people…”
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