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Dear Editor,

The story of Wanda White and Tammie Bell (NIH Record, Mar. 30, 2004) was a great one and needed to be told. There are not many people like Ms. Bell who would donate a kidney while alive, and the NIH Record did a fine job of reporting this human interest story.

I wholeheartedly agree with Wanda White that the transplant team and staff here at the NIH should be commended highly. I underwent a successful kidney transplant myself in August 2001 done here by the very same Drs. Allan D. Kirk, Sidney John Swanson and Douglas A. Hale and ably medically managed by Dr. Roslyn B. Mannon as well as by the superb anesthesia and operating room staff. They are all very skilled, dedicated and caring physician-surgeon-scientists and are world leaders in transplant surgery, medicine and research. Their hope is that someday, through their research, transplanted organs will no longer be rejected by a recipient's body.

Like Ms. White, my recovery was rough — which one expects with any major surgery — but was made smoother by the caring and highly skilled staff at the Clinical Center. They have all become members of my family! I have had no rejection episodes so far (knock on wood!), and am back working as a clinician-scientist/principal investigator. My colleagues and I are working on finding a cure for cataracts (the most common cause of blindness in the world today) at the National Eye Institute, in close collaboration with NASA scientists (space explorers going to Mars can develop cataracts from cosmic rays).

Like Ms. White, I am living proof of the great medical and surgical miracles our very own staff are quietly performing day after day, and of the great role the Clinical Center is playing in medicine today. I also attest to the great support given to me by the hierarchy of the NEI and NIH during my difficult times. The NIH is indeed a great place to be a patient and to work!

Dr. Manuel B. Datiles III,

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