Kidney transplantation are one of the most spectacular and controversial treatments in recent biomedicine. The history of kidney transplantation is one of the area studies within the framework of the “Recent Danish Biomedicine”-project at Medical Museion. In order to include not only written sources and archival material in this study we have invited ten medical doctors to participate in a witness seminar on the subject.

Witness seminars have been used by a number of institutions as a means to study contemporary history. In the field of the history of medicine, notably the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL and the Centre for History in Public Health, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have made use of this type of meeting in order to document and preserve the experiences of the people who participated in significant medical developments.

The witness seminar on the history of kidney transplantation is the first of its kind organised by the Medical Museion. We have been succesful in putting together a group of ten active or retired doctors (nephrologists, urologists, immunologists) who have worked with kidney replacement therapies since the late 1960s or early 1970s, and look forward to a very interesting meeting. The meeting does not have a strict agenda, but there are certain issues, such as the introduction of a new and controversial therapy, the relationship between tissue typing and immunosuppression, kidney preservation techniques, and the politics of organising a new therapeutic area, that we wish to address, even though we realise the importance of letting the discussion go where it pleases.

The seminar takes place on 8 November at Panum Instituttet. Since the purpose of the meeting is to facilitate and document the witnesses’ discussion (the seminar will be taped and the recording included in the archive of Medical Museion), the seminar is in principle a closed event. Anyone with a special interest in the subject may, however, contact Søren Bak-Jensen about possible attendance. There will not be any opportunity for members of the audience to comment on the discussion at the meeting or to ask questions during the seminar.

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