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Single Altruistic Donation Made by Sharp Memorial Hospital Employee Kicks Off Five Consecutive Kidney Transplants
San Diego, Calif. — In the true spirit of giving, 33-year-old Anne Edwardson is donating one of her kidneys to someone she doesn’t even know. The Sharp Memorial Hospital occupational therapist decided to make this lifesaving donation eight years after hearing about someone else who made an altruistic organ donation. She says that in the past year she felt increasingly inclined to follow suit.
“I am a strong believer that all lives have equal value, including complete strangers that I've never met,” Edwardson said. “I am at a good point in my life to have a surgery — I don't have any children and my life is pretty stable, so I thought now would be a good time.”
Edwardson is donating her kidney through the National Kidney Registry (NKR), a national nonprofit organization which facilitates living donor transplants. The NKR is comprised of a nationwide network of medical institutions, including Sharp Memorial Hospital — the only San Diego-based hospital that is a member of the registry.
“Incompatibility is no longer a roadblock to donation,” said Dr. Barry Browne, medical director of the Kidney-Pancreas Transplant Program at Sharp. “If a family member or friend wants to help, but their organ isn’t compatible, it doesn’t end there. The National Kidney Registry provides a network for hospitals to find reciprocal matches elsewhere; and in this case, is allowing five lifesaving kidney transplants to take place.”
Donation Chain Logistics and Locations
On June 15, Edwardson’s kidney was removed by transplant surgeon Dr. Evan Vapnek, and then packaged for transport by Lifesharing Community Organ & Tissue Donation at Sharp Memorial Hospital, and transported to California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco for implantation (recipient No. 1).
A donor aligned with the CPMC recipient will donate a kidney to a patient at UCSF Medical Center (recipient No. 2). This match is particularly notable because it is the first ever zero mismatch donation made within a National Kidney Registry chain. The zero mismatch projection is based on the fact that 6/6 levels of desired compatibility levels match up, significantly increasing the odds of success. From here a kidney from the recipient’s donor will be transported to New York.
Subsequent, related donations will be made at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (recipient No. 3) and New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center (recipient No. 4). At this final destination, a donor aligned with the recipient will donate a kidney, which will be provided to someone on the medical center’s wait list (recipient No. 5)
Enhancing Kidney Transplant Potential
A California bill to create a living donor registry recently cleared the Senate, which if passed, would result in the creation of a master list of healthy, altruistic people who are willing to donate an organ while they are alive. If signed into law, California would be the first in the nation to create a Living Donor Registry.
Sharp Memorial Hospital
Sharp Memorial Hospital, which first opened its doors in 1955, is part of Sharp HealthCare, San Diego’s most comprehensive health care delivery system, recognized for clinical excellence in cardiac care, women’s services, cancer, orthopedics, multi-organ transplants, rehabilitation and behavioral health services. To learn more about Sharp Memorial, visit www.sharp.com/memorial or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277).
June 22, 2010
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