Byers “Bud” Shaw, MD is a world renowned transplant surgeon who has saved the lives of countless patients.
Dr. Shaw grew up in rural Ohio, the son of a general surgeon. After completing medical school and surgery residency, he joined the brand-new transplant program at the University of Pittsburgh as a fellow, training under Dr. Thomas Starzl. He stayed on in Pittsburgh as a member of the faculty for two more years following fellowship. During this time he performed the liver portion of the world’s first heart-liver transplant. In 1990, several years after Dr. Shaw was recruited to the University of Nebraska, Dr. Starzl described him as “one of the finest surgeons in the world today”.
At the University of Nebraska, Dr. Shaw established a new transplant program in 1985 and built it from the ground up to eventually include not only liver and kidney transplant, but also bowel, pancreas, heart, and lung transplant services. He became a passionate advocate for a national organ procurement system, and played a critical role in guiding the early development of UNOS. He continued to play a significant role in the organ transplantation leadership nationally and in 1993 developed the Organ Transplant Tracking Record (OTTR) software to ensure patients received better care following their transplants.
Dr. Shaw’s work at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which is to this day a leading transplant program nationally, brought access to life-saving solid organ transplantation to a part of the country where patients could not access it previously.
As a result, Dr. Shaw operated on some notable Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) patients who traveled to the University of Nebraska for top-notch transplant care. One PSC patient he transplanted, not once but twice, was Jamie Redford, documentary filmmaker, screenwriter, and son of Robert Redford, who was in turn inspired to found the James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness in 1995.
Dr. Shaw also transplanted professional rodeo champion and grammy-nominated country singer-songwriter Chris LeDoux, close friend of Garth Brooks. Brooks underwent evaluation to be LeDoux’s donor prior to his transplant in 2000, and was not a match, but was there for his friend right up until his death in 2005 of bile duct cancer. LeDoux’s son Ned credits his liver transplant from Dr. Shaw with five more years to enjoy life and his family: “For the next five years after his liver transplant, Dad continued touring, making albums, ranching and just living his life to the fullest.”
Bud Shaw is someone who knows too well what it is like to receive a devastating diagnosis and lose a loved one to cancer. He lost his mother to lung cancer as a child, then battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma himself in the early 2000s, while still serving as Chairman of the University of Nebraska’s Department of Surgery.
After serving as Chairman for twelve years, Dr. Shaw stepped down to serve as medical director of the Advanced Clinical Applications Project, aiming to implement electronic documentation tools to improve patient care and research.
Colleagues describe him as compassionate, visionary, a builder, a change agent – someone who saw patients as human beings who needed help, not statistics, and left transplant medicine and many lives improved as a result. The awards selection committee at SAVE JON agreed. In honor of Dr. Shaw’s efforts to help PSC and other patients everywhere who rely on life-saving organ transplants, he will be receiving a GAME CHANGER Walter Payton Legacy Award alongside Coach Mike Ditka and Jared and Cameron Wohl of the Wave Set on July 30th at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.
In 2015 Dr. Shaw published “Last Night in the OR,” a collection of vignettes illustrating his life and time as a surgeon. Ten lucky individuals will receive a free autographed copy of this fascinating memoir with their purchase of tickets to this year’s GAME CHANGER gala and Mike Ditka Day Celebration, an official Pittsburgh Bicentennial event!