Source: CBS/FOX 12 Mankato
In Health Watch:
When a loved one needs a kidney transplant.. a close relative or friend may offer their kidney. But if the donor isn't compatible with their loved one, there could be an alterative solution . It's called kidney swapping . It's a way for doctors to network willing donors.Randall Pinkston explainsThis reunion is not for family or classmates.... the people here have given or received the gift of life.New York's Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia hosted the gathering to celebrate more than 3-thousand kidney transplants since the first one here in 1969.
Of all the transplant stories, these two couples' may be the most remarkable.When Dave Dorlen's kidneys failed five years ago, his wife Rosiland offered to donate.Rosiland Dorlen says, 'However, my husband was not an appropriate recipient because of the difficulties with the match."It was a similar story for Tom Packard, he was dying and his finance Ann Heavner wasn't a matching donor.
Ann Heavner says, 'all of us knew we didn't have too much longer and then a miracle occurred.Doctors discovered there were matches between the two couples ..Dorlen was able to give her kidney to Tom.And Ann donated her kidney to Dave.Doctors call it kidney swapping.
There are more than 80-thousand Americans waiting for a kidney.But each year there are only 17-thousand transplants.Doctors hope kidney swaps make more organs available and save more lives.Dr. Lloyd Ratner says, 'potentially we increase the number of live donors by about a third, which is huge."Today marks the five year anniversary when these couples swapped kidneys.Tom Packard says, 'it was like a gift of life it really was.'Columbia's transplant teams says America needs more organ donors of all types - to help give other - a second chance at life.