Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz
The medical profession will be forever enhanced by the contributions of the late Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz. During his lifetime, the internationally reknown pioneer of organ transplant surgery performed, 500 kidney transplants..
An article in the Arkansas Biography Newsletter specifically lauds Kountz as being responsible for discovery of the effectiveness of methyl prednisolone in reversing acute rejection of the transplanted kidney; and the advocacy of earlier implantation — or, the implantation of a second kidney at the earliest sign of the first kidney rejection.
Kountz was born Oct. 20, 1930, in Lexa Arkansas. He was the eldest of three sons born to Rev, and Mrs. J.S. Kountz. His first educational experience took place in a one-room schoolhouse; his first job was picking cotton. Once asked by Harvard students why he chose his career, he answered, “I decided that there must be more interesting things to do. But I didn’t know the technology was going to improve.
After graduation from Morris Booker College High School, Kountz earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Arkansas AM&N College (now known as the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff) in 1952. In 1956 he earned a Master of Science degree at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville; and in 1958 he graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. He served his internship from 1958 to 1959 at San Francisco Hospital and from 1959 to 1962 was assistant resident in the department of surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine. He eventually became chief resident in the department.
In the 1960′s, Kountz served in a number of teaching positions: department/surgery instructor at Stanford; visiting Filbert Professor to the United Arab Republic; assistant surgery professor at Stanford; associate surgery professor at the University of California School of Medicine at San Francisco. He went on to become chief of the Kidney Transplant Service and associate professor of surgery at the University of California at San Francisco from 1967 to 1974. And, from 1972 to l981 he served as professor and chairman of the department of surgery, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Awards and honors won by Kountz include the 1964 Young Investigator’s Award from the American College of Cardiology; the 1967 Lederle Medical Faculty Award; the 1969 Man of the Year Award by the Kidney Foundation of Northern California; and several honorary doctorates. In 1974 he was elected president a/the Society of University Surgeons. In 1977 UAPB dedicated the Kountz-Kyle Building.
Kountz passed away Dec. 23, 1981, at the age of 51.