Livingston M.F. Wong, MD, FASC is remembered as a 'quiet innovator' who introduced the newest and most advanced medical breakthroughs to Hawaii that saved many thousands of lives.
"He wanted to make Hawaii as good as the rest of the United States when it came to medical care. He just did it because he thought it needed to be done,” according to his daughter, Dr. Linda Wong, transplant surgeon at The Queen's Medical Center in Hawaii.
Dr. Livingston Wong founded the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii in 1987, later renamed Legacy of Life Hawaii. Dr. Wong also founded the Hawaii Bone Marrow Donor Registry and is credited with raising the level of EMS in Hawaii to become one of the best programs in the nation.
A “local boy” who graduated from Maryknoll School and the University of Hawaii, Livingston M.F. Wong, MD FACS, was among the first Asian Americans to graduate from from the Massachusetts General Hospital Surgery residency program, among the most prestigious in the nation. Returning to Hawaii after graduation, he pioneered medical advances never before seen in the islands. His innate foresight and inherent systems approach to healthcare enabled him to develop a comprehensive support system for patients and their families that was deeply rooted in the aloha culture.
In Hawaii, he put together a team of highly skilled surgeons and physicians who made liver, heart, and pancreas transplants accessible to the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin.
Dr. Wong headed a team of physicians and technicians in 1978 that performed the first bone-marrow transplant in Hawaii. In 1984, the first heart transplant in Hawaii was performed. He assembled a team of highly skilled physicians and founded Surgical Associates of Hawaii in 1991. He also passed his passion onto his daughter, Linda Wong, MD who performed the first liver transplant in Hawaii in 1993.Today, Surgical Associates, Inc. includes six highly trained transplant surgeons for kidney, liver and pancreas transplants.
By 2007 1,000 kidney transplants had been performed in Hawaii. About that time St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii sold both its hospitals to Hawaii Medical Center, enabling the state’s only transplant center to continue to serve Hawaii until its abrupt closure in December 2011. At that time, The Queen’s Medical Center and the community rallied the legislature, and started up the Queen’s Transplant Center in January 2012.
2019 marked the 50th Anniversary of Transplantation in Hawaii, and the medical community hosted a special celebration at St. Francis Healthcare System in Liliha to honor Dr. Livingston Wong for the countless lives he impacted through his life-saving work. Since performing the first kidney transplant at St. Francis Hospital on August 9, 1969, more than 2,500 lives have been saved through organ transplantation.
Dr. Livingston Wong is survived by his wife, Linda W. Wong, sons, Livingston "Jack" and Lyle; daughters, Rosemarie Crisologo, Dr.Linda Wong, and Jessica, and his brother Alvin Wong.