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Kidney Paired Donation: 16 Patients, Four Hospitals, Four States

DETROIT, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Henry Ford Hospital is the first in Michigan to participate in a domino donor kidney transplant in which eight patients received a new kidney from eight unrelated donors at four hospitals in four states.

Surgeries were performed on four separate days at Henry Ford, The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis as donated kidneys were transported by airplane to their intended recipients under a Kidney Paired Donation.

It is believed to be the largest series of kidney paired donation procedures performed in the United States. All eight donors - five women and three men - and eight organ recipients - five women and three men - are either in good or fair condition.

The unique organ matching donation takes a group of incompatible donor-recipient pairs and matches them with other pairs in a similar predicament, thus increasing the pool of living-donor kidneys and enabling patients on the transplant waiting list to get transplanted sooner.

At Henry Ford, on the eve of his 14-year wedding anniversary, 57-year-old Daniel Bruce received a life-saving donor kidney June 16 from Johns Hopkins. His wife, Sally, 47, then donated a kidney June 22 to a recipient at Johns Hopkins. The couple resides in Bad Axe, Michigan, located about 120 miles north of Detroit.

A laborer with Farmer's Elevator and Grain Co. in Kinde, 9 miles north of Bad Axe, Bruce had been on thrice-weekly dialysis treatments due to kidney failure for the past year. With an outward charm and gift for giving, Bruce was a natural to play Santa Claus, which he has done for more than 30 years until the dialysis sapped his energy and forced him to curtail his route of delivering candy and peanuts to families across Michigan's Thumb Area.

Bruce hopes he can return as a full-strength Santa this holiday season.

"I'm looking forward to getting back my quality of life and getting back to where I used to be," Bruce says.

In Michigan, more than 2,400 people are waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the Gift of Life Michigan. Henry Ford, one of only two multi-organ transplant centers in Michigan, performed the first kidney transplant in Detroit in 1968. Through June, Henry Ford has performed 2,320 kidney transplants.

Lauren Malinzak, M.D., a Henry Ford transplant surgeon who led the Bruces' surgeries, says the paired kidney donation is an opportunity for Henry Ford to expand the reach for donated organs and to save lives.

"As the number of people on a transplant waiting list continues to outnumber available organs, we need to look for innovative ways to help our patients," Dr. Malinzak says.

The kidney paired donation began June 15 with an altruistic donor (individuals willing to donate a kidney to any needy recipient) donating a kidney to a recipient from one of the incompatible pairs at Johns Hopkins. That recipient's donor's kidney went to a recipient from a second pair and so on. The last remaining kidney from the final incompatible pair was donated by a patient at Barnes-Jewish to a recipient at Johns Hopkins on July 6.

Daniel Bruce was discharged from Henry Ford June 19; his wife was discharged June 24.

Sally Bruce, a nurse at the Courtney Manor Nursing Home in Bad Axe, initially was a compatible donor for her husband. But two weeks before the scheduled transplant, a test showed his body had built up immunity against her kidney enzymes, no longer making Sally a compatible donor for her husband.

When the Bruces were approached by a Henry Ford kidney transplant coordinator about the paired kidney option, both agreed to participate.

"There wasn't a decision to be made," Sally Bruce says. "I can live with one kidney. I've watched my husband go through dialysis and kidney failure. If I couldn't help him, then I wanted to help someone else."

Sally Bruce hopes the couple can resume camping - their favorite pastime - in the months ahead.

"I'm anxious for Dan to get well and to have a normal life again," she says. "I'm looking for the positive; I'm looking forward to our future."

SOURCE Henry Ford Health System
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