First of all, I apologize that the topic of the seminar has been announced to be the introduction of kidney transplantation at Rigshospitalet. During the past months, my focus has changed, and the material that I would like to discuss on Tuesday is the first and incomplete draft for an article on the history of organisation of kidney transplantation in Denmark from the mid-1960s onwards, thus a much wider topic. My purpose in the text is to examine different perspectives on how this organisation changed, primarily with a focus on the early period from ca. 1965 to 1980.

I plan to examine three such perspectives. The following text includes only the first one, and I have not yet written the remaining two, but I will present them all very briefly here. First, I look at how clinical changes in the transplantation of organs, mainly extended possibilities for the use of kidneys from dead donors, justified changes to the organisation of kidney transplantation in Denmark around 1970. The second perspective deals with negotiations between medical doctors at the local level and central health care authorities about where to establish transplantation centres. Kidney transplantation was a prestigious kind of health care service and was highly sought after by patients suffering from chronic kidney failure, and many hospitals wanted to offer it. Geographical location, facilities at individual hospitals, but also personal relations between medical doctors played a part in were the transplantation centres were actually located. My source material for this section includes, in addition to the archives of the central health care administration, archival material from Københavns Amts Sygehus in Glostrup, where transplantations began in 1970. Also, I will include the case of Københavns Kommunehospital, where plans for transplantations were well under way during the same period, but were never put into effect. In the final section, I will consider the importance of how medical doctors working within emerging medical specialities, nephrology and urology, tried to secure funding for specialised departments and how that may have influenced the kind of organisational plans that were presented by medical advisors to the central administration. Negotiations over funding for transplantation centres are well documented in the archives of the central administration, but it is the section that I know the least about and where most work remains to be done.

I think that in general I have a lot of good source material for the study of the history of the organisation of kidney transplantations. My main problem, however, has been to determine the analytical questions that could be asked to this material and how to relate my findings to more general analytical and historiographical perspectives regarding recent biomedicine and the implementation of new healing methods. I hope to get some suggestions for this on Tuesday, but all comments are welcome.

The seminar is held at the Medical Museion, Fredericiagade 18, 1310 Kbh. K, in the meeting room on the 1st floor.

Please e-mail me for the text at

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