The first kidney transplant in NSW

In 1962, the Department of Nephrology was established at the Prince Henry Hospital.

On 5 August 1965, the first kidney transplant in NSW took place at the Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay in Sydney. The operation was performed by a team led by Professor Joe Murnaghan (a urologist) and Dr Doug Tracy (a vascular surgeon).

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald on the 50th Anniversary of the operation in 2015:

Founding unit head David Jeremy remembers the gathering confidence of the medical team as they worked through the night to complete the first kidney transplant in NSW in 1965. The patient, Dorothy Wilkie, had developed kidney disease from taking Bex powder and was being kept alive by dialysis. The medical team had been practising on models, but the initial challenge was in sourcing a kidney for her.

“There were too many people who needed transplants and not enough kidneys available,” Dr Jeremy said. “The transplanted kidney worked quickly from the beginning and we were very pleased with that.”

It lasted 32 years until her death.

SMH: July 30, 2015

This was only the second successful kidney transplant in Australia. In the following decade 217 graft operations were performed on 185 patients with a survival rate of 75%. The Nephrology department moved to the SCH and POWH site in 1998.