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Robert Montgomery, MD: Transplant Surgeon/NYU Langone | BuildingNY:NYStories

Robert Montgomery, MD: Transplant Surgeon/NYU Langone | BuildingNY:NYStories


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ MICHAEL: BUFFALO, NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA PAROCHIAL SCHOOL — TOUGH KID IN PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, PUBLIC SCHOOL. WORKING IN A SEWER PLANT, CONSTRUCTION, TEST TUBES? IMMUNOLOGY. I LIKE IMMUNOLOGY. ST. LAWRENCE FIRST. UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER LATER. OXFORD, THOMAS WATSON SCHOLAR, JOHN HOPKINS, TRANSPLANTATIONS, KIDNEYS. DIRECTOR OF THE TRANSPLANT INSTITUTE AT NYU LANGONE. DR. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, THANKS FOR BEING HERE. DR. MONTGOMERY: I FEEL LIKE MY LIFE JUST PASSED BEFORE MY EYES. MICHAEL: IN 32 SECONDS. DR. MONTGOMERY: SOUNDED SO INTERESTING. MICHAEL: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’S SIDE. DR. MONTGOMERY: MY DAD’S NAME WAS MONTGOMERY, AS IS MINE, OBVIOUSLY. HIS FAMILY ORIGINALLY WAS FROM FRANCE, AND THEN THEY EMIGRATED TO SCOTLAND. AND THEN TO NORTHERN IRELAND AND THEN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA. MICHAEL: WHEN DID THEY ARRIVE IN PITTSBURGH? DR. MONTGOMERY: THE EARLY 1800’S. MICHAEL: YOU SAID ONE OF THE FAMILIES FOUGHT IN THE CIVIL WAR. DR. MONTGOMERY: YEAH, JOHN MILTON MONTGOMERY. HE WAS MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER. MICHAEL: THAT WAS ON DAD’S SIDE. DR. MONTGOMERY: YES, HE FOUGHT FOR THE NORTH AND THE CIVIL WAR. HE WAS A DANDY. MICHAEL: OK, MOM’S SIDE? DR. MONTGOMERY: MOM’S SIDE CAME FROM IRELAND AND LUXEMBOURG. THE IRISH PART OF THE FAMILY CAME OVER DURING THE POTATO FAMINE. MICHAEL: HOW DID MOM’S SIDE END UP IN PITTSBURGH? DR. MONTGOMERY: FAMILY — MY GRANDFATHER CAME TO PITTSBURGH TO WORK IN THE — MICHAEL: THE COAL MINES? DR. MONTGOMERY: WELL, NO, THE STEEL MILLS. AND HE THEN SENT FOR HIS FAMILY SOME YEARS LATER TO JOIN HIM, BUT HE WENT OVER FIRST. MICHAEL: YOU SAID YOUR DAD WAS IN THE WAR. DR. MONTGOMERY: MY DAD WAS IN WORLD WAR II, YEAH. MICHAEL: RIGHT, AND — DR. MONTGOMERY: HIS FATHER WAS IN WORLD WAR I. MICHAEL: BECAUSE HE WAS IN WORLD WAR II, HE WAS ABLE TO HAVE THE G.I. BILL. WHERE DID HE GO TO COLLEGE? DR. MONTGOMERY: HE WENT TO CARNEGIE MELLON, WHICH AT THAT TIME WAS CARNEGIE TECH. MICHAEL: HOW DID HE MEET MOM? DR. MONTGOMERY: MY MOTHER WAS ACTUALLY WORKING ON A BIOLOGY DEGREE, THE FIRST ONE IN HER FAMILY TO GO TO COLLEGE. SO SHE WAS A GRADUATE STUDENT. AND SHE WAS A TEACHING ASSISTANT. ALL OF THESE YOUNG G.I.’S WERE COMING BACK, SO THEY MET. THEY MET SOME YEARS BEFORE THAT, ACTUALLY, BEFORE MY DAD WENT OVERSEAS TO THE SOUTH PACIFIC. AND THEN WHEN HE CAME BACK TO PITTSBURGH, THEY REACQUAINTED. AND MY DAD WAS NOT HAVING ALL THAT, YOU KNOW, HER BEING THE INSTRUCTOR WITH 50 YOUNG G.I.’S. MICHAEL: SO HE SAID WE ARE GETTING MARRIED — DR. MONTGOMERY: WE ARE GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING A FAMILY, AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DO THIS ANYMORE. MICHAEL: YOU MENTIONED THAT YOUR DAD’S FAMILY ORIGINALLY IN THE 1920’S, WERE IN THE AUTOMOBILE BUSINESS. THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL UNTIL THE DEPRESSION CAME. DR. MONTGOMERY: THAN THEY LOST EVERYTHING, RIGHT. MICHAEL: MOM AND DAD WERE MARRIED. HE WAS WORKING FOR AN ENGINEERING FIRM. THEN THEY GO TO BUFFALO. DR. MONTGOMERY: THAT IS RIGHT. MICHAEL: YOU WERE BORN IN BUFFALO. FROM BUFFALO, THEY CAME BACK TO PHILADELPHIA? DR. MONTGOMERY: THEY GO TO PHILADELPHIA. MY DAD TOOK A NEW JOB IN PHILLY. MICHAEL: AND HE STAYED THERE UNTIL HIS — DR. MONTGOMERY: HIS DEATH. MICHAEL: HIS DEATH. TALK TO ME ABOUT GROWING UP IN PHILLY AND WHAT HAPPENED IN FOURTH GRADE. YOU WENT TO PAROCHIAL SCHOOL? DR. MONTGOMERY: WELL, IN THE BEGINNING, THAT WAS ACTUALLY WHEN I WAS IN BUFFALO. I WENT TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL. MY DAD WAS PRESBYTERIAN. MY MOM WAS CATHOLIC. AND SHE WON, SO WE WENT TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL. AND I DID NOT FARE WELL IN CATHOLIC SCHOOL. IN FACT, MY SCHOOLTEACHER WROTE ON THE BACK OF MY REPORT CARD BOBBY THINKS THE RULES DO NOT APPLY TO HIM, WHICH WAS LIKE THE WORST THING THAT A NUN COULD SAY TO YOU. MICHAEL: WHAT HAPPENED? DR. MONTGOMERY: MY MOM PULLED ME OUT OF CATHOLIC SCHOOL BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT I WAS GREAT. MICHAEL: YOU WERE LIKE EIGHT YEARS OF AGE AT THIS TIME. SO WHEN THE MOVE BACK TO PENNSYLVANIA? DR. MONTGOMERY: I WAS ABOUT EIGHT. MICHAEL: SO RIGHT AFTER THAT IT WHAT ABOUT YOUR BROTHERS? DR. MONTGOMERY: MY BROTHER STARTED OUT IN GRADE SCHOOL, CATHOLIC SCHOOL, AND PUBLIC SCHOOL IN BUFFALO. THEY ARE OLDER. MICHAEL: TELL ME ABOUT GROWING UP IN PHILADELPHIA. DR. MONTGOMERY: WE WERE IN THE SUBURBS, SO IT WAS SORT OF WHAT YOU ENVISION OF SUBURBAN LIFE. THERE IS 10 YEARS BETWEEN MY OLDEST BROTHER AND I, SO HE WAS OFF TO COLLEGE BEFORE I REALLY KNEW HIM. AND MY DAD WAS VERY STRICT FROM HIS MILITARY BACKGROUND. HE HAD GONE TO MILITARY SCHOOL SINCE HE WAS SIX YEARS OLD, BECAUSE THAT WAS SORT OF THE FASHION BACK THEN. IF YOU WERE FROM AN UPPER MIDDLE CLASS FAMILY, YOU WOULD OFTEN SEND YOUR KIDS AWAY. MICHAEL: SO THEY DID NOT SEND YOU? YOU WERE THE REBELLIOUS ONE. DR. MONTGOMERY: YEAH, I WOULD HAVE GONE TO REFORM SCHOOL, YEAH. MICHAEL: SO HOW DO YOU GET THE JOB WORKING AT THE JEFFERSON MEDICAL SCHOOL CLEANING TEST TUBES? DR. MONTGOMERY: RIGHT, SO I WAS ABLE TO GET INTO THIS PROGRAM IN HIGH SCHOOL WHERE THEY WOULD — TWO DAYS A WEEK, I WOULD LEAVE SCHOOL AT ABOUT NOON. I DO NOT EVEN KNOW HOW IT ORIGINALLY HAPPENED, BUT I WAS VERY INTERESTED IN IMMUNOLOGY. MICHAEL: TO GET INVOLVED AND INTERESTED IN IMMUNOLOGY AT A YOUNG AGE, WHAT CAUSED IT? DR. MONTGOMERY: I THINK IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN — SO MY DAD, YOU KNOW, DIED OF HEART DISEASE. AND AT THE TIME, ONE OF THE DOCTORS HAD TALKED ABOUT A HEART TRANSPLANT. BUT THERE HAD BEEN VERY FEW DONE AT THAT POINT. THIS WAS IN THE MID-1970’S. AND THEY SAID HE WAS TOO OLD. HE WAS 50. MICHAEL: RIGHT. DR. MONTGOMERY: ANYWAY, I THINK THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE SEED, TRANSPLANTATION AND IMMUNOLOGY GO HAND-IN-HAND. MICHAEL: HOW ABOUT THE SEWER PLANT? DR. MONTGOMERY: THE SEWER PLANT WAS JUST A WAY OF MAKING MONEY WHEN I WAS OFF DURING THE SUMMER IN HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE. MICHAEL: DID YOU GET HIT IN THE HEAD? WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SEWER PLANT? DR. MONTGOMERY: I WAS UNLOADING THESE PREFORMED CONCRETE BLOCKS FROM AN OVERHEAD CRANE, AND THE GUY WHO WAS RUNNING THE CRANE WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION, AND THE THING HIT ME IN THE CHEST. IT DROVE ME RIGHT THROUGH A FORM BEHIND ME AND INTO A SKIMMING TANK. AND THEY PULLED ME OUT OF THERE AND SPRAYED ME DOWN. MICHAEL: LUCKY ON THAT. DR. MONTGOMERY: I GOT HALF A DAY OFF. MICHAEL: WHEN DID YOU — SINCE I KNOW YOU HAVE ALWAYS ENJOYED CARS, AND WE EVEN HAVE A PICTURE OF YOU WITH YOUR SHELBY, WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN A LOVE FOR CARS? DR. MONTGOMERY: MY DAD. HE LOVED THE MUSTANGS. MICHAEL: WHEN DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN HUNTING? IN YOUR OFFICE, THERE ARE PHOTOS OF YOU — DR. MONTGOMERY: THAT JUST CAME TO ME. NO ONE IN OUR FAMILY IS A HUNTER. I LOVED BEING OUTDOORS. I ALMOST BECAME A VET. WHEN I WAS A KID, I WOULD ALWAYS BE LOOKING DOWN AND WOULD SEE SOME LITTLE CRITTER ON THE GROUND, AND OUR HOUSE WAS FILLED WITH ANIMALS. MICHAEL: HOW DO YOU, AFTER GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL, DECIDE TO GO TO ST. LAWRENCE IN CANTON, NEW YORK? DR. MONTGOMERY: WELL, I HAD TWO BROTHERS WHO WENT THERE AND HAD A REALLY GOOD EXPERIENCE. I GOT A SCHOLARSHIP. MICHAEL: RIGHT, BECAUSE YOU PLAYED FOOTBALL AND LACROSSE? DR. MONTGOMERY: PLAYED FOOTBALL AND LACROSSE AND WAS A GOOD STUDENT. WHEN MY DAD DIED, WE WERE NOT FINANCIALLY PREPARED FOR WHAT WAS GOING TO COME. AND PEOPLE DID NOT HAVE BIG LIFE INSURANCE POLICIES THEN. MICHAEL: YOU SAID TO ME THAT YOU SPENT THE LAST TWO YEARS WITH YOUR DAD WHEN HE WAS SICK, SPENDING TIME PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE WITH HIM. DR. MONTGOMERY: YEAH, SO HE WOULD TAKE ME ASIDE USUALLY ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS — I WAS 15 YEARS OLD, TAKE ME INTO HIS OFFICE, SHOW ME WHERE THINGS WERE. HE TOLD ME THAT, YOU KNOW, MOM WAS GOING TO HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME. HE KNEW HE WAS DYING. IN FACT, HE HAD HAD SEVERAL TIMES WHERE HE HAD ESSENTIALLY DIED AND BEEN RESUSCITATED. ONE OF THE THINGS HE SAID TO ME IS DO NOT EVER BE AFRAID TO DIE. IT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT YOU SHOULD DREAD. SO HE MUST HAVE HAD SOME KIND OF EXPERIENCE. MICHAEL: OR PREMONITION. DR. MONTGOMERY: YEAH, SO HE WAS PREPARING ME FOR BEING THE MAN OF THE HOUSE. ALL MY OLDER BROTHERS WERE OFF. THEY WERE AT SCHOOL. I WAS THE YOUNGEST ONE. MICHAEL: SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE AT ST. LAWRENCE — IS THAT THE FIRST TIME YOU GET INVOLVED WITH AFRICA, WHEN YOU WERE AN UNDERGRADUATE? DR. MONTGOMERY: YEAH, SO DURING ONE OF THE SUMMERS, I SPENT TWO AND A HALF MONTHS IN WEST AFRICA IN A PROGRAM. WE WERE DOING KIND OF PUBLIC HEALTH. IMMUNIZATIONS. MICHAEL: AND THEN YOU COME BACK. YOU CONTINUE AT ST. LAWRENCE. YOU GRADUATE, BUT BEFORE YOU GO TO MEDICAL SCHOOL, YOU GO BACK TO AFRICA. DR. MONTGOMERY: I SPENT ANOTHER YEAR IN AFRICA. WHEN I WAS IN AFRICA, WE WERE IN RURAL AREAS. ACTUALLY, BACK IN THE EARLY 1980’S, THERE WERE PLACES WHERE THEY HAD NOT SEEN A LOT OF WHITE PEOPLE. SOME OF THE PLACES THAT WE WERE IN WERE VERY REMOTE, SO THE TRADITIONAL HEALERS REALLY WERE THE ONLY HEALTH CARE THAT THESE PEOPLE HAD. SO I GOT REALLY INTERESTED IN THIS SORT OF INTERFACE BETWEEN WESTERN MEDICINE AND TRADITIONAL MEDICINE. SO WHEN THERE WAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO WRITE A FELLOWSHIP, WHICH IS SORT OF WE WILL GIVE YOU MONEY AND YOU GO DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO, I WROTE ABOUT — MICHAEL: HEALING AND — DR. MONTGOMERY: TRADITIONAL HEALING, THIS INTERPLAY, HOW TO HELP COORDINATE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE WITH WESTERN MEDICINE, TO DELIVER GOOD MEDICINE IN AFRICA. SO I DID THAT, AND I WANDERED ALL OVER AFRICA WITH A BACKPACK FOR A YEAR. MICHAEL: IS THAT WHEN YOU APPLY TO THE UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER? DR. MONTGOMERY: YES. ACTUALLY, WHEN I WAS AT JFK AIRPORT GETTING READY TO FLY OUT TO AFRICA, I PUT MY APPLICATION IN THE MAILBOX. MICHAEL: WAS THIS BEFORE THE MADAGASCAR EXPERIENCE OR AFTER? DR. MONTGOMERY: THIS WAS BEFORE. THE MADAGASCAR EXPERIENCE TOOK PLACE DURING THAT YEAR WHEN I WAS WANDERING AROUND AFRICA STUDYING TRADITIONAL MEDICINE. MICHAEL: WHAT HAPPENED, THEY PUT YOU IN A HOLDING CELL IN MADAGASCAR? DR. MONTGOMERY: SOMETHING LIKE THAT. BASICALLY, IT WAS MISTAKEN IDENTITY. THEY THOUGHT I WAS A MERCENARY. I WAS BIG. I HAD A BIG BEARD AND HAD JUST COME FROM SOUTH AFRICA. BACK THEN, IF YOU HAD BEEN IN SOUTH AFRICA, YOU COULD NOT TRAVEL TO OTHER PARTS OF AFRICA, SO I HAD TWO PASSPORTS. ONE OF THE PEOPLE THAT I WAS IN CONTACT WITH THERE WHO WAS GOING TO INTRODUCE ME TO THE TRADITIONAL HEALERS, THE PEDIATRICIAN WHO STUDIED IN PARIS, AND THIS WAS DURING THE COLD WAR, AND MADAGASCAR WAS PART OF THE SOVIET UNION, AT LEAST A PROTECTORATE OF THE SOVIET UNION. SO WHEN I ARRIVED TO THERE, MY FRIEND, WHO HAD BEEN FRIENDS WITH THE FORMER PRESIDENT WHO HAD BEEN ASSASSINATED DURING A COUP, HE — WE HAPPENED TO RUN INTO THE VICE PRESIDENT WHO WAS UNDER HOUSE ARREST. HE INTRODUCED ME TO HIM AT THE AIRPORT. THAT SEALED MY FATE. MICHAEL: FORTUNATELY, YOU CAME BACK. OTHERWISE, WE WOULD NOT HAVE ONE OF THE LEADING KIDNEY AND TRANSPLANT DOCTORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. SO YOU ARE AT ROCHESTER. HOW DO YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WANT TO GET INVOLVED WITH KIDNEYS AND GENERAL SURGERY? DR. MONTGOMERY: WHEN I WAS ON MY MEDICINE ROTATION, I TOOK CARE OF A PATIENT WHO HAD A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT AND HAD THIS MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS THAT NOBODY COULD FIGURE OUT. WE FINALLY TOOK HIM TO THE OPERATING ROOM AND TOOK A PIECE OF HIS LUNGS, AND IT WAS THIS NEW DISEASE CALLED LEGIONNAIRES DISEASE. I SPENT BASICALLY TWO MONTHS WITH HE AND HIS FAMILY AND JUST WAS SO INTERESTED IN, YOU KNOW, THE TRANSPLANTATION PART OF IT. BUT WHEN I FIRST SET FOOT IN AN OPERATING ROOM, I KNEW THAT THESE WERE MY PEOPLE, THAT I WAS GOING TO BE A SURGEON. BUT I REALLY LIKED MEDICINE, TOO, SO I CHOSE A FIELD WHERE YOU CAN DO BOTH. MICHAEL: I KNOW WHEN YOU WERE AT HOPKINS, THEY HAVE THE MUSIC PLAY IN THE OPERATING ROOM. YOU FINISHED ROCHESTER AND START ROTATION AT HOPKINS, WHERE YOU GO NOW FOR YOUR PHD AT OXFORD. WHEN DO YOU GO TO OXFORD? DR. MONTGOMERY: I WENT TO HOPKINS AND I DID TWO YEARS OF GENERAL SURGERY TRAINING. THEN I WENT TO OXFORD AFTER THAT. MICHAEL: THE FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP. YOU COME BACK TO HOPKINS — DR. MONTGOMERY: FINISH MY TRAINING. THEN I DO MY TRANSPLANT TRAINING. THEN I COME ON AS A STAFF MEMBER. MICHAEL: TALK ABOUT THE TRANSPLANT AND THE KIDNEYS AND THE DOMINO EFFECT. DR. MONTGOMERY: RIGHT, SO WE HAD A YOUNG LADY WHO CAME FROM THE MIDWEST. THIS WAS IN THE LATE 1990’S. AND SHE BASICALLY SAID, I WANT TO GIVE MY KIDNEY TO ANYBODY WHO NEEDS IT. THIS HAD NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE. AND WE DECIDED TO GIVE HER KIDNEY TO A CHILD. SHE BROUGHT PUBLICISTS WITH HER, SO IT WAS ON THE NEWS AND GOT A LOT OF PLAY. THE NEXT DAY WE HAD 50 PEOPLE WHO CALLED — I WANT TO GIVE MY KIDNEY, TOO. IT STARTED THIS WHOLE MOVEMENT, AND SHE WAS TRYING TO START A REVOLUTION. SHE HAD BEEN A TRANSPLANT COORDINATOR. SO, ANYWAY, WE STARTED GIVING THESE KIDNEYS TO ALL THE CHILDREN ON OUR LIST, AND WE EVENTUALLY TRANSPLANTED ALL OF THE KIDS. THEN WE DECIDE, WHO SHOULD HAVE PRIORITY TO GET ONE OF THESE KIDNEYS? I HAD ANOTHER PATIENT AT THE TIME WHO NEEDED A TRANSPLANT VERY BADLY. WE HAD A LIVE DONOR, BUT THEY WERE INCOMPATIBLE. BASICALLY, IT WAS LIKE A EUREKA MOMENT. I THOUGHT, WELL, WHY DON’T WE TAKE A KIDNEY FROM ONE OF THESE ALTRUISTIC DONORS, GIVE IT TO THE RECIPIENT, AND START A CHAIN OF TRANSPLANTS. MICHAEL: SO THAT IS THE DOMINO EFFECT. THAT IS HOW YOU GOT INTO THE GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS. FOR WHAT? DR. MONTGOMERY: THE MOST TRANSPLANTS DONE IN ONE DAY. MICHAEL: BEFORE WE GET TO NYU, LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW YOU HAVE WRITTEN MORE THAN 200 JOURNALS AND HAVE SPOKEN AROUND THE WORLD. ONE DAY YOU ARE ON A PLANE TO PARIS. WHAT HAPPENS? DR. MONTGOMERY: I WAS FLYING FROM WASHINGTON TO PARIS AND THEN OUT TO ITALY. AND I WAS SITTING IN THE TERMINAL AND SAW THIS YOUNG CHILD WHO HAD JUST LEARNED TO WALK. MICHAEL: AROUND TWO YEARS OF AGE. DR. MONTGOMERY: RIGHT, AND SHE IS RUNNING AROUND ON THE MOVING CONVEYOR BELT. AND THIS BEAUTIFUL WOMAN APPEARS AND STARTS CHASING HER AROUND. SO I NOTICED THEM THEN, GOT ON THE PLANE, AND I SAW THE WOMAN COMING DOWN THE AISLE AND, YOU KNOW, THE PERSON WHO SITS NEXT TO YOU IS NEVER THAT PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO SIT NEXT TO YOU, BUT SHE DID. SHE SAID TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY. MICHAEL: SHE HAD THIS 2-YEAR-OLD, ELLA, AND SHE THOUGHT SHE CANNOT HAVE GIVEN BIRTH. AND ELLA’S DVD WAS NOT WORKING, RIGHT? DR. MONTGOMERY: YES, DENISE OPENED UP HER DVD BUT IT HADN’T BEEN CHARGED, AND SHE SAID THAT THIS WILL BE A LONG FLIGHT. I HAD MY LAPTOP. I ALWAYS WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO DO MY SLIDES. I WAS GIVING A PRESENTATION, SO I SAID, WELL, SHE CAN USE MY LAPTOP, WHICH HAD A DVD PLAYER. MICHAEL: WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT THAT SHE WAS A WORLD-RENOWNED OPERA SINGER? DR. MONTGOMERY: WE TALKED ALL NIGHT LONG AND DID NOT SLEEP AT ALL. SHE TOLD ME ABOUT HER LIFE. I TOLD HER ABOUT MINE. THERE WERE A LOT OF SIMILARITIES, ACTUALLY. MICHAEL: DID YOU TELL HER YOU HAD NEVER SEEN AN OPERA IN YOUR LIFE? DR. MONTGOMERY: SHE ASKED ME IF I KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT OPERA, AND I SAID THE ONLY THING I KNEW ABOUT OPERA, I LEARNED BY WATCHING BUGS BUNNY. SHE WAS NOT IMPRESSED WITH THAT. MICHAEL: SO SHE GETS OFF THE PLANE, AND YOU HAVE SOME TIME IN BETWEEN WHEN SHE IS GOING TO PARIS — DR. MONTGOMERY: SHE WAS LIVING IN PARIS. I WAS COMING BACK THROUGH PARIS TO COME BACK TO WASHINGTON. THE FLIGHTS DID NOT LINE UP, SO I HAD THIS LAYOVER IN PARIS, AND WE MET. MICHAEL: AND YOU WENT TO THE BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR ELLA. DR. MONTGOMERY: THAT’S RIGHT. MICHAEL: DISTANT EMAIL, TELEPHONE RELATIONSHIP WORKED OUT. DR. MONTGOMERY: I CALL IT A VICTORIAN COURTSHIP. MICHAEL: THEN IT WAS 2006, AND YOU GOT MARRIED. DR. MONTGOMERY: 2009. MICHAEL: 2009 WHEN YOU GOT MARRIED AND YOU HAD THREE WEDDINGS. TELL ME ABOUT THAT. DR. MONTGOMERY: MY WIFE IS AN OPERA SINGER, SO EVERYTHING IS DRAMATIC. SHE WOULD SAY THAT I WAS ACTUALLY THE ARCHITECT OF THE THREE WEDDINGS, BUT THAT IS NOT TRUE. MICHAEL: THE FIRST WEDDING IS WHERE? DR. MONTGOMERY: IN A CHAPEL AT THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL, AND THAT WAS IN JUNE 2009. MICHAEL: THEN AFRICA. DR. MONTGOMERY: THEN AFRICA. I HAD ALL THESE TIES TO AFRICA. IT WAS IN MY SKIN, YOU KNOW, AND I TOLD HER I WANTED TO GET MARRIED THERE. SO WE HAD A MAASAI WEDDING. MICHAEL: AND YOU COME BACK TO AMERICA. DR. MONTGOMERY: WE COME BACK TO THE U.S. THE AFRICAN WEDDING WAS IN AUGUST, AND THEN WE HAD A BIG PUBLIC WEDDING IN SEPTEMBER. THAT WAS AT THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL. MICHAEL: NOW IT IS 2016, RIGHT? AND YOU GET A PHONE CALL FROM A GUY NAMED BROCKMAN. WHAT HAPPENS? DR. MONTGOMERY: I WAS VERY HAPPY AT JOHNS HOPKINS, HAD BEEN THERE FOR 30 YEARS. WE HAD DONE SOME GREAT THINGS. WE HAD THIS PERIOD OF INNOVATION, AND WE WERE THE MOST INTERESTING AND INNOVATIVE TRANSPLANT PROGRAM PROBABLY IN THE WORLD. MICHAEL: MORE THAN 1000 KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS. MICHAEL: YEAH. SO I THOUGHT, OK, I AM GOING TO RETIRE FROM HOPKINS, GET A PORTRAIT ON THE WALL. YEAH, WELL, THAT WAS NOT TO BE. THERE WAS GOING TO BE A DISRUPTIVE FORCE THAT WAS ABOUT TO ENTER MY LIFE, AND THAT WAS ANDY BROTMAN, AND HE CALLED ME AND SAID OUR TRANSPLANT PROGRAM IS EXPERIENCING SOME DIFFICULTIES AND WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO COME GIVE US YOUR OPINIONS ON WHAT WE SHOULD DO. SO I CAME UP, AND BY THE AFTERNOON, I REALIZED IT WAS A JOB INTERVIEW. I MET WITH THE DEAN- MICHAEL: BUT IT WAS NOT TRANSPLANT, NOT KIDNEY, BUT THEY WANTED YOU TO HEAD THE TRANSPLANT PROGRAM, WHICH INCLUDED KIDNEYS, LIVERS, LUNGS, HEART, AND FACIAL. DR. MONTGOMERY: AT THE TIME, THEY DID NOT KNOW THAT. THEY WANTED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. THEY HAD CONFIDENCE IN ME THAT I COULD MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN. IN TERMS OF THE ARCHITECT OF THIS TRANSPLANT INSTITUTE, THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT I, YOU KNOW, AFTER I LEFT MY MEETING WITH THE DEAN, HE SAID, YOU KNOW, TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK TRANSPLANTATION IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE AND WHAT A TRANSPLANT CENTER, HOW IT SHOULD BE RUN AND ORGANIZED. MICHAEL: RIGHT, AND WITH THE NEW KIMMEL BUILDING, IT WILL BE SELF-CONTAINED, EVERYTHING IN THAT BUILDING. DR. MONTGOMERY: A WHOLE FLOOR OF THE BUILDING FOR ALL THE TRANSPLANT ORGANS, INCLUDING BONE MARROW TRANSPLANTS. SO THAT IS WHAT WE DID. WE ORGANIZED ALL OF TRANSPLANTATION UNDER ONE ROOF. WE STARTED A HEART PROGRAM, A BONE MARROW PROGRAM, A LUNG TRANSPLANT PROGRAM. MICHAEL: TELL ME ABOUT THE FAMILY. WE KNOW ABOUT DENICE AND ELLA. WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER KIDS? DR. MONTGOMERY: MY OLDEST DAUGHTER LIVES IN BROOKLYN, AND SHE HAS BLESSED US WITH A GRANDCHILD. AND THEN JOHN IS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, BUSINESS SCHOOL, AND HE IS DOING A PHD IN MATH. FORMALLY WAS ON WALL STREET. THEN THERE IS MAX, WHO IS 15, AND HE LIVES WITH HIS MOM AND UZBEKISTAN. HIS MOM IS MARRIED TO AN AMBASSADOR. AND THEN ELLA, WHO LIVES WITH US HERE IN MANHATTAN, WHO IS 13, A BUDDING SINGER. MICHAEL: SO, MEDICINE WAS THERE. IT WAS DESTINED TO BE. BUT I THINK WHAT WAS DESTINED TO BE TODAY WAS THE CREATION OF THE TRANSPLANT PROGRAM AND NYU LANGONE IS A VERY LUCKY TO HAVE YOU. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE TODAY. DR. MONTGOMERY: THANK YOU. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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