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Goran Klintmalm, MD, FACS, PhD welcomes audience to special presentation of “Burden of Genius” 

Oct. 30, 2018 Beasley Auditorium, Baylor University Medic​al Center

“Burden of Genius,” a film about Dr. Thomas Starzl and his journey into organ transplantation premiered in Texas at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas on October 30.  Starzl was the first doctor in the world to transplant a liver. He also transplanted the first liver at Baylor University Medical Center.  The 90-minute documentary film inspired and enthralled the audience at Beasley auditorium.

“This movie re-enforced why our patients are so grateful and why I strive so hard every day to help them stay healthy with their transplanted liver, “said post-transplant coordinator, Angela Wilson, RN after watching the movie.

“This is a movie that everyone working in the transplant field or touched by organ transplantation should see,” commented James Trotter, MD, Chair, Transplant Hepatology, Baylor University Medical Center.  

Goran Klintmalm, MD, FACS, PhD, Chief and Chairman, Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute, is interviewed in the film.  Dr. Klintmalm was trained by Dr. Starzl, was recruited to Baylor with Starzl’s recommendation and together they performed the first liver transplant at Baylor in December 1984.  He welcomed the audience to the “Burden of Genius” screening.

Steve Newton, President of Baylor University Medical Center introduced special guests including Dr. Starzl’s wife, Joy and her family from Quitman, Texas. Other recognized guests included the family of Stormie Jones, who made international headlines in 1984 when she received the world’s first heart and liver transplant and John Rodriguez, the brother of Dr. Starzl’s first surviving liver transplant recipient.  

“To have my family remembered in this way is amazing and an honor. I was very pleased to personally meet Joy and I wish life had granted me the opportunity to meet Dr. Starzl. Both are angels from God.”

Dr. Starzl died in 2017 at the age of 90.  The film chronicles his life and passion and his unwavering determination to make liver replacement surgery work for dying patients. He took risks. Critics called him reckless.  However, his research and relentless pursuit changed the lives of thousands of patients and the course of transplantation medicine forever.

Since the creation of the Baylor Transplant program, surgeons on the medical staff at Baylor have performed more than 4000 liver transplants and more than 4000 kidney transplants.  Nearly 900 heart transplants have occurred and more than 500 lung transplants have been carried out. The Baylor transplant team recently completed the first successful uterus transplant in the nation.   According to Dr. Klintmalm, so much of Baylor’s transplant progress can be traced to Dr. Starzl.   “This movie is very personal to me.  It showed all our young doctors how transplants occurred in the early days and how we got to where we are today.”

After the movie screening, the movie’s writer and director, producer and several of the original hospital staff responsible for creating the Baylor Transplant program participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from the audience.  Producer Laura Davis says she hopes to make “Burden of Genius” available to a wider audience in 2019.

Visit the Burden of Genius website​ to watch the trailer.