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Dr. James West dies at 98; a founder of Betty Ford Center
Dr. James West dies at 98; a founder of Betty Ford Center

Dr. James W. West stood on the cutting edge of medicine in the middle of the 20th century and recognized "it sounded bizarre to remove an organ from a dead person and expect it to work." He was part of a team of surgeons who helped change that perception when they performed an early transplant, using a kidney from a cadaver, in 1950 at a Chicago-area hospital. The successful operation galvanized public interest and is credited with influencing surgeons around the world to attempt organ transplants. Open about being a recovering alcoholic physician, West pioneered substance-abuse programs in Illinois and in 1982 was named founding medical director of the Betty Ford Center in...

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