As a person who has TWO friends suffering from some form of kidney disease, I found this story awe-inspiring and FANTASTIC.
Last year, Grey’s Anatomy’s Dr. Miranda Bailey pulled out all the surgery stops and lined up a “domino surgery” for 12 patients who all needed kidneys. Each had agreed to donate a kidney to a friend or relative, but the problem was that they didn’t match. So, through this domino surgery, each patient was matched with a donor.
Although the real-life version of this didn’t take place in one hospital OR in one day, it’s still quite amazing. It involved 2 hospitals, Georgetown University Hospital and Washington Hospital Center, mixing and matching their donor and recipient lists to come up with the 26 person (13 donors and 13 recipients) “domino” surgeries. The surgeries took place over a period of 6 days, with doctors performing transplants on 2-3 patients each day.
How was all of this possible? Well, there’s a new trend among hospitals specializing in organ transplantation called “paired kidney donation” in which one incompatible donor/recipient pair is matched with another pair in the same situation so that the donor of the first kidney gives to the recipient of the second, and vice versa. Obviously, the larger the kidney exchange, the more donors and recipients are mixed and matched, giving more people the chance to obtain a new kidney.
Pretty cool, people. So I thought I’d share…And yeah, I KNEW there was a reason (or 20) why I just LOVE Grey’s Anatomy.