Our History

The past 50 years have been a time of unbelievable advancement in transplantation. See how the Alabama Organ Center has played a key role in this growth.

Our History

1968

First kidney transplant performed in Alabama by Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm, Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Birmingham

1979

Alabama Organ Bank established, currently the Alabama Organ Center

1981

First heart transplant performed in Alabama by Dr. Robert Karp, UAB Hospital

1982

First bone procurement completed by Alabama Regional Organ Center

1983

  • - FDA approves Cyclosporine, the most successful anti-rejection medication developed to date
  • - First liver transplant performed in Alabama, UAB Hospital

1984

National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) establishes nationwide computer registry operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS); authorizes financial support for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs); prohibits buying or selling of organs in the United States

1986

Required Request Laws require hospitals to develop policies to identify patients as potential donors and approach families about organ donation

1988

  • - FDA approves Viaspan that greatly extends the preservation of donated livers
  • - 2,000th kidney transplant performed in Alabama
  • - First pancreas transplant in Alabama, UAB Hospital
  • - First heart/lung transplant in Alabama, UAB Hospital

1989

First lung transplant in Alabama, UAB Hospital

1992

  • - First double-lung transplant performed in Alabama, UAB Hospital
  • - 3,000th kidney transplant performed in Alabama

1997

500th heart transplant performed in Alabama

1998

  • - First small bowel-liver transplant performed in Alabama, UAB Hospital
  • - 500th liver transplant performed in Alabama
  • - National Conditions of Participation enacted; required hospitals to refer all deaths and imminent deaths to the local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO)

2013

Children’s of Alabama performs first transplant and opens  Pediatric Transplant Program

2016

  • - Angelynn and Courtney’s Law implemented.  The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency shall create and implement a program promoting organ donation through the application or renewal process of the driver’s licenses.
  • - Alabama Organ Center performs first organ recovery in dedicated Donor Recovery Center

2017

  • - UAB Paid Living Donor Leave implemented for employees who volunteer as living organ donors or bone marrow donors.
  • - State of Alabama approves paid leave benefits for living organ donors or bone marrow donors.

2018

  • - 50th anniversary of the first kidney transplant performed in Alabama by Dr. Arnold G. Diethelm.
  • - Alabama participated in the HOPE (HIV Organ Policy Equity) Act.  A liver was successfully transplanted from Alabama's first HIV+ deceased donor.  Prior to the HOPE Act, it was illegal to knowingly transplant HIV+ organs.  This advancement will help to save and improve more lives.