After a great time running the Barcelona Marathon and a visit to Switzerland, it was back to work – only this time, my work was in Frankfurt! I began the first of my visits to European national transplant organizations with the Deutsche Stiftung Organtransplantation (DSO), Germany’s organ donation and transplantation authority. I had the amazing opportunity to visit the DSO headquarters in Frankfurt, including a 90-minute interview with the head of the DSO, a tour of the facility, and formal presentations by different agency heads discussing the current situation of organ donation and transplantation in Germany. The following day, I was able to visit the DSO Mitte Regional Office in Mainz, where I met with coordinators working in the regional hospitals to discuss the particulars of donation practices. With amazing luck, there was a donor referred that day to the DSO, and I was able to scrub in and assist in the surgery, while the surgeon removed the donor’s liver in Offenbach for a recipient in Munich. It turned out to be a late night in the OR, but definitely an unforgettable one.
Beyond my time at the DSO, I was able to take in the city of Frankfurt as well. Known colloquially as “Bankfurt” for its role as a financial capital, the city was dominated by modern skyscrapers, in stark contrast to the “old Europe” feel that many of the other cities have. Highlights were the red sandstone Kaiserdom, where the Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned for centuries, the central medieval Römerplatz, the variety of bridges spanning the River Main, and the many contemporary glass-and-steel skyscrapers towering over the city.