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Sharp Health News

A phone call leads to a new kidney and renewed life

Aug. 10, 2022

Brad Lipetzky at Sharp Memorial Hospital

Brad Lipetzky with Dr. Marquis Hart, who performed his kidney transplant surgery.

Throughout his life, Brad Lipetzky, age 50, had no indication he had a chronic kidney disorder. However, about five years ago, he began to have unexplained symptoms. “I grew more fatigued and had back pain,” says Brad, an IT manager for an insurance company.

Upon seeking treatment, Brad learned that like his mother, he had polycystic kidney disease — a hereditary condition that causes cysts to grow inside the kidneys. In late-stage disease, the cysts are visible from outside the kidneys. The condition is a type of chronic kidney disease that can lead to kidney failure.

While he was able to avoid dialysis and keep both of his kidneys with the help of Dr. Juan Calderon Molina, a Sharp Rees-Stealy Medial Group and Sharp Community Medical Group board-certified nephrologist, he learned he would need another kidney.

Brad’s wife, Tiffany Lipetzky, a business service representative at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group who has worked at Sharp for 12 years, was by his side through it all. “My husband and I were concerned, wondering what the future would look like,” she says.

A lifesaving phone call
In February 2022 they got their answer. Brad received a phone call: He was eligible to receive a kidney from a recently deceased donor. “I felt humbled and honored to be given this chance with this new kidney and new life,” he says.

Time was of the essence, so Brad received a kidney transplant the next day. The surgery was performed by Dr. Marquis Hart, a board-certified transplant surgeon affiliated with Sharp Memorial Hospital.

A few days after the procedure, Brad developed antibodies against his new kidney. The immune system naturally forms antibodies to protect the body from bacteria and viruses. But antibodies can also develop to attack foreign tissue, including a transplanted kidney.

According to Dr. Arman Faravardeh, a Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group and Sharp Community Medical Group nephrologist affiliated with Sharp Memorial, this can occur in many patients, so the transplant team closely monitors them after surgery. “We were able to treat Brad with plasmapheresis, which involves removing harmful antibodies from the blood,” he says. 

A full recovery — and life
Brad soon recovered and was able to go home, where his health continued to improve. “I also gave up caffeine,” he says. “My transplant has motivated me to make healthier choices and I’ve been feeling amazing.”

Today, Brad has no pain, lives a full life and especially enjoys watching sunsets with Tiffany. The two are grateful for the care he received at Sharp Memorial.

“Being on the other side at Sharp — not as an employee but as a patient’s loved one — blew me away,” says Tiffany. “Sharp took care of my husband throughout the entire process, and it meant the world to us to go to the best place in the universe to receive care.”

Learn about Sharp HealthCare’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.

For the news media: To talk with Dr. Molina, Dr. Hart or Dr. Faravardeh about this story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at erica.carlson@sharp.com.

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