2018-02-23 吴幼民 中国人体器官捐献协调员
今年三月四日是世界器官移植之父Thomas E. Starzl MD, PhD逝世一周年纪念日，好莱坞将发行纪
吴幼民教授特地写了一段往事，深深怀念现代移植之父，Dr. Thomas E. Starzl.吴教授知悉要转
转发此文，谨以此向Dr. Thomas E. Starzl致以崇高敬意！
写在Dr. Thomas E. Starzl 周年祭⽇
移植之⽗，Thomas E. Starzl MD, PhD。
约好了⼀起吃午饭，⼗⼀点钟不到，我已在第五⼤Dr. Starzl 的办公室门前。⼀切是那么的熟悉，
⼩汽车丝丝滑过，影⼦映衬在⼉童医院巨⼤的玻璃墙⾥，似乎是个繁忙的城市。Dr. Starzl 办公室
的楼下是个⼩餐馆 “Pizza Hut”，⼩店旁边有⼀扇⼩玻璃门，我按响了门铃，“谁呀? ” “吴”, “滋”，门
庞。“你好，吴医⽣。” 这是Terry ⼩姐，Dr. Starzl 的秘书，据说她有法学博⼠的头衔。“Dr. Starzl
马上就到”。寒暄过后，我提出能否参观⼀下Dr. Starzl 的办公室，Terry 说“ 没问题” 我爬上了三
楼，迎⾯是Dr. Starzl 的办公室，那张浅黄⾊的⼤圆桌还在原来的地⽅，桌上仍然堆满⽂献。我仿
佛进⼊了幻境，Dr. Starzl 似乎站在桌旁，⼿中拿着⼀只笔，侃侃⽽谈…。难以想象他是如何在这
“吴医⽣，⾛啦!” Terry 在楼下喊我。Kelly ⼩姐，Dr. Starzl的另⼀个秘书开着⼀辆⼩车已在门前。
我急速地冲下楼，推开那扇临街的⼩门，Dr. Starzl 向我伸出了右⼿，“ 吴!”他在喊我吗? 我的⼼快
要跳出胸膛，双⼿紧紧握住他的⼿，抬起头仰望着Dr. Starzl, “ 您⼀切好吗，Starzl 医⽣!” Dr.Starzl
动员的风采依稀可见，看不出已是85 岁的⾼龄。他说 “我们⼀起去我最喜欢的餐馆吃午饭吧”。
也许时间还早，我们是⼩店今天的第⼀批客⼈。Dr. Starzl 选了个靠窗的⼩圆桌坐下，我猜想他也
（Healthgrade.com), ⽽我刚刚接⼿的移植中⼼则在全美垫底。我此⾏是想邀请Dr. Starzl 去纽约参
加⼀个学术会议。我说明来意后Dr. Starzl 说， “ 我现在有下肢深静脉⾎栓，不能坐飞机，如果有
重⼤的会议，我去了也就讲5 分钟。”他抬起头，望着我戏虐的说，“ 除⾮是偌贝尔委员会请我。”
我们⼀起笑起来，他又说，“ 明年中国有个科学⼤会请我，如果我去，你和我⼀起去。” 我们谈起
我真的是⼀个直线思维的⼈，谈着谈着我又把话题引到了邀请Dr. Starzl 去纽约的事情上，我说，“
匹茨堡到纽约很近，我们可以租⼀辆Limo. , 不赶时间，每两⼩时下来活动⼀下，⼀路玩过去就不
会有问题了。” 他笑起来打趣的说，“ 好啊，我去纽约看看Julie.” Julie 是我太太朱虹的英⽂名，⼆
⼗多年前，她是匹茨堡⼤学移植中⼼研究新型免疫抑制剂FK-506 及UW 器官保存液的研究助理。
科的情况后说“ 吴医⽣, 不要在纽约买⼤房⼦，你看看我，我⽤现⾦买了个15 万美元的房⼦，没有
贷款也就没有压⼒，我⼀年仅仅需要3 万美元的⽣活费。” 我惊愕，⼼中概叹这不可思议的数字，
⼩⽊屋⾮常便宜，也不起眼，外观看起来连⼩偷都不觉得值得去偷窃。” 我和Terry ⼤笑了起来。
我暗⾃揣摩，Dr. Starzl 的⼩⽊屋是个啥样呢？ 多少年后，我⼀直有⼀个⼩⽊屋情节，希望有⼀
天，Joy Starzl, Dr. Starzl 的太太会带我去看看那幽⾕之中，密林深处的⽊屋。幻想着⾃⼰退休
看着Dr. Starzl 的⽣活，顿感幸福离⾃⼰很近，保持平淡的⼜味，才能尝出⽣活中的那飘忽不定的
今天我又在回味Dr. Starzl 的话，我想他在晚年是期待偌贝尔奖的，虽然他对⼈类的贡献是偌贝尔
有给肝移植的发明⼈颁奖呢? 突然想起Dr. Starzl曾经说过，他成功的秘诀就是不看报纸与电视⾥对
吃螃蟹，那只是⼀场又⼀场Dr. Starzl 留给我们的盛宴⽽已。作为遍布全世界的Dr. Starzl 的学⽣，
我们是否应当发出我们的声⾳，叫板偌贝尔奖委员会呢？ 转⽽⼀想，让它去吧！ 那是⾃以为是的
偌贝尔奖委员会的损失。Dr. Starzl 追求的是为⼈类打开器官移植世界的⼤门，他已赢得现代器官
我此时此刻的另⼀个体会是，Dr. Starzl 在政治上也是极其敏感睿智的，他从我的只⾔⽚语中，也
服务⽣送上了菜单，Dr. Starzl 不假思索的⽤⼿指点了点菜单，咕哝了⼏句，服务⽣⼼领神会。服
Dr. Starzl ⼿指点过的地⽅又点了⼀点说，“请给我同样的三明治”。
Dr. Starzl 又询问了许多爱荷华⼤学医院的事情。我们谈起了爱荷华⼤学的外科主任亲赴匹茨堡，
⾯见Dr. Starzl, 希望我踏实的在爱荷华发展的往事。他们谈话之后，我接到了Dr. Starzl 的⼀封信，
Dr. Starzl 说，“我在收集以往的信件，你回纽约后找找那些信件。” 其实我每年的圣诞节都会寄⼀
张圣诞卡给Dr. Starzl, 同时附上⼀封信, 总结⼀下⾃⼰⼀年来的收获与烦恼，他每次都给我回信。
那是九⼗年代的初期，我在职业的⼗字路⼜徘徊反侧的困难⽇⼦⾥，他来信说，“ Dr. Scott Conner
进⼊美国的讨论，Dr. Wu 的例⼦告诉我们不要这样做。外国毕业的医⽣是美国超级医学架构的组
成部分，我的许多学⽣都成为了美国医学领域的领导，Dr. Wu 就是其中的⼀个”。我去阿肯⾊⼤学
调侃我的选择说“ 我将⾮常有兴趣的看你在⼩⽯城的冒险。” 之后他又⿎励我说，“你在那⾥成功的
科学是没有国界的，Dr. Starzl 的眼⾥只有科学，胸中可以装得下整个世界，他是属于全⼈类的。
Dr. Starzl 开始对我进⾏了⼀番职业⽣涯的评论。他说，“ 我⼀直在观察你的动向。你的肝移植腔静
个美国孩⼦考试考了60 分，家长会兴奋的说“恭喜！你通过了考试.” 我像⼀个孩⼦⼀样，静静的聆
听。Dr. Starzl 又从阿肯⾊谈到了纽约。我赶快打开了iPad 的录像功能，录下了我⼀⽣中最为珍贵
的视频。五年之后，当⼀切成为历史的时候，我将那⼀段录像放在了Facebook“Dr. Starzl 学⽣ “ 的
群⾥，Dr. Starzl 的太太Joy Starzl 看到后说“ Thak you forsharing this....His insight was amazingly
accurate..ALWAYS!!!!!! Missing him sooo much:-( “. 她⽴即加了我在她的朋友圈⾥。
物是“ Dr. Starzl 国家移植中⼼的荣誉证书.” 我们都站了起来，我双⼿从Dr. Starzl ⼿上接过那沉甸
⽣涯的⽣死抉择，也是⽆数病⼈的⽣死抉择！没有Dr. Starzl 精神的⽀撑，离开Dr. Starzl 的教诲，
⼀切都是绝⽆可能的。Terry ⼩姐⽤我的iPad 记录了⼀切。接着她又拿出了Dr. Starzl 的那张在匹
茨堡⼤学医院第6 号⼿术室的著名照⽚，以及他的著作“ the Puzzle People “。Dr. Starzl坐下来，
我送给Dr. Starzl 的礼物是⼀对银质的袖筘，在Tiffany 购买时刻上了Dr. Starzl 名字的第⼀个字母。
Dr. Starzl 站了起来说，“ 吴医⽣, 你的这个iPad 功能很多啊。” 我说，“是啊，是啊，我能在这⾥看
到您家的房⼦。” 他问道，“ 你能看见欧洲吗？” 我说，“当然“。 Dr. Starzl 又坐了下来，告诉我他
现在屏幕上，我换上了Google Map Satellite, 略加放⼤，那⼏幢⼩房⼦的细节也跃然银屏之上。他
他突然抬起头望着我说，“ 吴医⽣, 你认为世界上是否有⼀种理论，可以解释宇宙中的⼀切呢？” 我
怔了⼀下说，“我还没有想过这个问题。” 他坚定的说，“有! 我正在研究这个问题。” 他的双眸清澈
烧。⼈⽣就像是画圈，有的⼈画的⼩⼀点，有的⼈画出⼤格局，Dr. Starzl 的圈画到了银河系以
他突然站起来说，“ Dr. Wu, 我们现在就去买iPad”。
Kelly ⼩姐慢悠悠的开着车，⼩车在Dr. Starzl ⼀个接⼀个的幽默段⼦带来的笑声中爬上了医院的后
⼭坡，驶⼊⼀个普通居民区。Dr. Starzl 指着路边⼀幢黄⾊的房⼦对我说，这就是他15 万美元现⾦
买的房⼦。我后来经常问⾃⼰⼀个问题，Dr.Starzl 的幸福感来⾃于哪⾥呢？ 我想起了相对论中的
英皇的荣耀。Dr，Thomas E. Starzl, 您将永远活在千千万万病⼈与我们这些移植⼈的⼼⾥。伟⼈
的梦想也许就是哲学的终极⽬标，我们从哪⾥来？ 我们到哪⾥去？ 他们照亮迷途中的⼈类，带领
Youmin Wu M.D. 吴幼民
It’s the golden autumn in 2011. The plane takes off from New York City and makes a direct flight
to Pittsburgh. I am going to see my organ transplant mentor, the Father of the Liver Transplant in
the World, Thomas E. Starzl. M.D., Ph.D.
As the plane slowly lands on the tarmac at the new airport in Pittsburgh, I seem to be back in the
late autumn of 1987, a young man from China with a dream, flying over the Pacific Ocean and
across the North American continent. A little starlight gradually merges into the northeastern steel
city, which has now become the city of modern organ transplantation in the World.
I had an appointment for lunch with Dr. Starzl. Before eleven o'clock, I was in front of Dr. Starzl's
office on Fifth Avenue. Everything is so familiar. Opposite is the Children's Hospital outpatient
Clinic, a blueglass building. A few pedestrians on the streets seem in a hurry to go somewhere,
and occasionally a few cars cast shadows against the huge glass wall of Children's Hospital. It
seems to be a busy city.
Downstairs at Dr. Starzl's office is a small restaurant "Pizza Hut”. There is a small glass door next
to the shop, and I rang the doorbell, "Who is there?" a voice called out. "Dr. Wu,” I answered.
"Ziii-", the door buzzed and the lock seemed to open. I pushed in the door and climbed straight
up the narrow staircase. On the left hand side of the wall, which is all way up to third floor, still
hung the aged frame, slightly yellowed photos inlaid in the dusty frame. I stopped looking at the
photos, carefully identifying the face to face that seems familiar, but far away from memory. "How
are you, Dr. Wu?" This is Miss Terry, Dr. Starzl’s secretary who perhaps has the title of law
degree. "Dr. Starzl is coming soon,” she said. After the greeting, I asked if I could visit Dr. Starzl's
office. Terry said "Sure."
I climbed to the third floor and entered Dr. Starzl's office. The pale yellow round table is still in its
place, and there is so much paper still on the table. It seemed as though I was in a fantasy with
Dr. Starzl standing by the table, holding a pen in his hand and talking about.... It is hard to
imagine how he wrote 5,000 scientific articles on this table! I remembered that my first English
article was born here too. Awakened from my moment of reminiscing, I looked around under the
dim light. I can’t see the details of the corner. The World is quiet. I stood blankly in front of the
room. I heard my heart beating while sacred solemn and inexplicable sadness enveloped my
"Dr. Wu, let's go!" Terry called me from downstairs. Miss Kelly, another secretary of Dr. Starzl,
was in front of the door with a small car. I quickly rushed downstairs and pushed open the little
door facing the street. Dr. Starzl was there reaching out his right hand. "Wu!" He called me! My
heart is about to jump out of my chest. My hands clasp his right hand and looking up at Dr. Starzl.
"How are you doing, Dr. Starzl?" Dr. Starzl smiled. There was an eternal glow in his eyes. His
voice was high-pitched. He stood tall and straight with quick movements, a basketball player's
style is still faintly visible. I can’t believe that he is 85 years old. I remember that he said "let's go
to my favorite restaurant for lunch.”
The car made its way around on Forbes Avenue, across the cathedral and the library, a few more
blocks and a turn to the right. A quiet little street is there where the car was parked in front of a
The time is still early. We are the first guests in the store today. Dr. Starzl chose a small table by
the window to sit down. Maybe he often sits here for a lunch. Small shop lights provided dim light,
however bright rays of sunlight from the small window shines on the small round glass table, and
reflect to the decorative painting on the opposite wall. The painting is a dancing girl. She was
very eye-catching, clad in a red dress with a wild chicken feather oblique inserted in her hat.
Loose jazz music filled the air.
I set up my iPad on the table, hoping to record everything. The conversation started with the
purpose of my trip. I had just moved from the University of Arkansas to a hospital in New York.
That year, University of Arkansas's Liver Transplants won the Nation's first place in 95% of the
three-year patient survival rate. (Healthgrade.com), while the transplant center, which I just took
leadership, is the nation's last, the transplant department has been bankrupt. The purpose of my
visit is to invite Dr. Starzl to New York to participate in an Academic conference. When I
explained my intention, Dr. Starzl said, "I now have a lower extremity deep venous thrombosis
and can’t fly. If there is a major meeting, I usually only give five-minute talks." He winked and
smiled toward me and said, “Unless it is an invitation from Nobel Prize Committee." We all
laughed together and he added, "I have been invited by the Chinese science conference next
year. You should go with me if I go."
We talked about China and I told him I was in Beijing as an adviser to the government Organ
Transplant Committee. I designed the initial protocol of DCD organ donation system for China
under the direction of leaders within Government, and with many of my Chinese colleagues
joining together in the effort, China has established a pretty good organ donation system. The
organ transplants in China will soon be taking off to fly to a new level. He was very happy about it
and asked me many questions about Chinese organ transplantation.
I was really a stubborn person, I realized today. I started talking about my topic again to invite Dr.
Starzl to New York and I said, "Pittsburgh is close to New York and we can rent a limo. We can
take a break every two hours to do some exercises, there will be no problem with your DVT." He
laughed and jokingly said, "Well, I could go to New York to see Julie.” Julie is my wife Zhu Hong's
English name. Two decades ago, she was a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh
Transplant Center measuring the concentration of a novel immunosuppressant medication FK-
506. She appeared along with Dr. Starzl on ABC News at one time. I am very surprised at the
laughter, he actually still remembered Julie! Dr. Starzl asked details about the new transplant
center’s situation and said "Dr. Wu, don’t buy a big house in New York. Look at me, I bought a
hundred fifty thousand dollar house with cash in Pittsburgh. There is no mortgage, and I only
need thirty thousand dollars per year for my living. However. I bought a cabin in the mountain and
I spend weekend time there. It’s very enjoyable. The cabin is so cheap, even not worth robbing
it.” Terry and I laugh. I nod frequently, secretly trying to figure out what Dr. Starzl's cabin looks
Since that time I have been a plot of a cabana, and I hope one day Joy Starzl, Dr. Starzl's wife,
will take me to see the valley among the deep forest. A fantasy of retirement where I can face
orchids in the glen, sitting in the garden in front of the log cabin with a cup of tea in hand and a
ray of sunshine on your face, watching the sunrise and sunset, the wind and cloud. Watching Dr.
Starzl's life, a sense of happiness seems more close to me. To maintain a dull taste, you will be
able to taste the slightest sweet in this life.
Today I am savoring Dr. Starzl’s word. I guess he was looking forward to winning the Nobel Prize
in his later years, although his contribution to humanity is a greater prize than a Nobel Prize can
match. In turn, I wonder why the Nobel Prize Committee awarded the prize to every inventor of
different organ transplants, except the inventor of liver transplant alone. I suddenly remembered
what he once said, that the secret of his success is not to read the newspaper or watch the TV
coverage about him for his success or failure. I realize that he seems like ancient Chinese literati.
He believed in science, indifferent to fame and fortune being achievements of his life. He was the
first person in the world to eat this big crab of liver transplantation, and later on we all ate crabs,
however we are just enjoying one by one the Feast that Dr. Starzl left for us. As students of Dr.
Starzl all over the world, should we make our voice to Nobel Prize Committee? Turning to think
deeply, I thought we should just let it go, that's the loss of the Nobel Prize Committee. Dr. Starzl
has won the entire organ transplant world and often been referred to as “the father of modern
The waiter sent the menu. Dr. Starzl, without hesitation, pointed with his finger to something on
the menu, mumbled a few words, and the waiter took the order. The waiter finally turned to me. I
simply did not see the menu and I had no clue which sandwich would be the best to eat. I pointed
at the menu where Dr. Starzl just ordered and said, "same please”.
Dr. Starzl continued to ask many other factors about University Iowa Hospital and Clinics, and we
talked about the Chairman of Surgery at the University of Iowa went to Pittsburgh and met Dr.
Starzl in the hope of keeping Dr. Wu. After that event, I got a letter from Dr. Starzl, which
influence my career as Director of the U.S. Transplantation Centers for the next two decades.
Dr. Starzl said it while eating, "I'm collecting the letters I wrote before, and when you go back to
New York, try to find those letters I sent to you." Actually, every Christmas I send a Christmas
card to Dr. Starzl, along with a letter summarizing my year’s harvests and worries. He always
wrote me a reply each time with clear directions. I told him when I was at University of Iowa, I lost
opportunity to continue basic science transplant research because my responsibility in clinic were
unexpected high. He told me, “You must never lose sight, however, of the fact that these
investigative program are driven by clinical observations. Thus, your improvement in surgical
technique is apt to have just as great effect on the field as your animal studies.” and “It defines for
the first time what graft acceptance and tolerance really are, and I believe that it will have a ripple
effect far beyond transplantation (i.e. throughout all of immunology). You will realize, of course,
that the epiphany described in the NEJM article originated almost entirely from clinical
observations in transplant recipients.” During the most difficult days at the University of Iowa, he
wrote to me, "I saw Dr. Scott Conner briefly during her recent visiting lectureship and expressed
her support for your work. As you know, Iowa is my native state, and nothing would be please me
more than to see a continuation of the successful program there.” For my promotion at 1996, Dr.
Starzl sent a letter to the Chairmen, Dr. Scott Conner, he wrote, “Although there has been much
talk lately of restricting the flow of foreign national medical graduates to the United States, Dr. Wu
epitomizes the best argument for not doing so. The foreign graduates whom I have seen over the
last 30 years have been a critical component of our superb American brain trust, and many of our
former fellows have gone on to prominent leadership roles. Dr. Wu is an example.”
Before I went to the University of Arkansas, he wrote in a letter saying, "It's interesting to see
your adventure in Little Rock." and late on he wrote, “I especially want to thank you for sharing
the wonderful news regarding your career in Little Rock. To have the leadership position of the
entire transplant program is fantastic. That is an outstanding accomplishment.” At this time, I
went to New York to take on the challenge of one of the worst transplant centers in the United
States. He said, "You often running again, …You move from the back woods, part of the country
to the biggest city in the world, so you get tremendous energy, it will carries you all the way to the
end of your life.”
Science has no boundaries between the countries, there is only science in Dr. Starzl’s eyes, and
the whole world can fit in his chest. He really belongs to entire human beings. I am so fortunate to
stand on the shoulder of such a mentor, his euphemisms hasilluminated my whole life.
I don’t remember what kind of sandwich I ate for lunch. I do not remember if I even ate lunch. The
time seemed so short because of my excitement.
Dr. Starzl started to comment on my career. He said, "I have watched you all of the time." He
listed my "Cavaplasty Liver Transplant, and Cholangiocarcinoma with Liver-Whipple and OLT."
He said, "You have made contributions to the field." I was surprised that he knew everything
about me. I know his compliment to me is a reflection of the typical American culture. American
children score 60 points on a test and parents will be excited to say "Congratulations! You passed
the examination." I was just like a child, quietly listening to Dr. Starzl. Dr. Starzl started talking
about New York after talking about Arkansas. I quickly opened the iPad video feature, recorded
the most precious video in my life.
Five years later, when it all became history, I placed that video on the Facebook "Dr. Starzl
Alumni" group, and Dr. Starzl's wife, Joy Starzl, said after reading it, "Thank you for sharing this.
His insight was amazingly accurate. ALWAYS !!!!!! Missing him sooo much :-( ". She immediately
added me in her group of friends.
The sunlight from the window moved from our table to the ground, and Miss Terry took a present
out of her handbag. The first gift was "Dr. Starzl Transplant Institute Fellowship Training
Certificate." We all stood up and I took that heavy peace of paper from Dr. Starzl's hands and
filled my heart with 30 years’ accumulation of sleepless nights, thinking how many times I faced
critical choices. Not just critical choices of my own career, but also countless patient's life or
death choices! Without support from the spirit of Dr. Starzl, without mentoring by Dr. Starzl,
everything is impossible. Miss. Terry recorded everything with my iPad, and then she came up
with Dr. Starzl's famous photograph, which was in Operating Room 6 at Presbyterian Hospital in
Pittsburgh and his book “The Puzzle People”. Dr. Starzl sat down, leaving his expectations for
me, and the eternal ink on the photo and book. That moment, I heard my heartbeat again.
The gift I gave to Dr. Starzl was a pair of silver sleeves reed, the first letter of Dr. Starzl's name
was sculptured at Tiffany's store. I also bought a pair for myself. Whenever I give an important
speech at a conference, I always take it to motivate myself, always remember his exhortations
and expectations, and to be a good physician, and an ordinary man.
Dr. Starzl stood up and said, "Dr. Wu, your iPad is functioning so much!" I said, "Yeah, yes, I can
see your house from here." He asked, "Can you see Europe?" I said, "Sure.” Dr. Starzl sat down
again and told me that his original hometown might have been in Poland, and he had never been
there before. I entered the name of his hometown and a picture of green hills dotted with cottages
appeared on the screen. I put the screen on Google Map Satellite and slightly enlarged so the
details of those few small houses also vividly appeared on the screen. With his slender fingers,
Dr. Starzl fiddled with the iPad, like a child. Suddenly he looked up at me and said, "Dr. Wu, do
you think there is a theory in the world that can explain everything in the universe?" I was startled
to say, "I haven’t thought about it yet." He said firmly "There is! I am studying those theories." His
eyes radiated a ray of light. The eyes are the windows of the soul and at that moment, I could see
his thoughts through his eyes, his mind like a stormy, burning flame in his chest. Life is like a
circle, some people draw a little smaller circle, and some draw a big pattern. Dr. Starz’s circle
drawn is outside the Milky Way. At this moment, I believe that he is flying in the infinite universe.
Suddenly he stood up and said, "Dr. Wu, let’s go buy an iPad."
Miss Kelly drove and went to the street where Dr. Starzl's home was located in an ordinary
neighborhood on the hillside behind the hospital. He pointed to a yellow house on the roadside
and said, “That is the $150,000 Dollar cash house.” Nowadays, I often ask myself a question,
where did Dr. Starzl's happiness come from? I remembered Einstein and his Theory of Relativity,
and thought of Newton in London's Westminster Abbey, his prominent position in the cathedral
far surpassed the glories of the British emperors of all ages. Dr. Thomas E. Starzl, you will live
forever in the hearts of million of patients and those of your disciples. A great man's dream may
be the ultimate goal of
philosophy, where have we come from? Where are we going? They illuminate the road for human
beings and lead mortal beings to fly in the boundless universe.