Finding an organ donor the county over

Green Bay Press-Gazette | Nathan Phelps
Dr. Michael Zimmerman preps a kidney to be transplanted during an operation at Froedert Hospital February 10, 2016(Photo: Nalissa Wienke/ Submitted photo)

With a few waves, smiles, and nervous tears, four hospital beds disappeared one by one through a set of double doors toward a quartet of operating rooms.

After months and years of waiting, several hours of surgery – and a shot at an improved quality of life – awaited a pair of patients in a kidney transplant fostered by hard work, patience and a little bit of good fortune.

“The four people involved in this right now, all four of our lives are going to change,” said Daniel Thelen, one of two kidney recipients involved in a four-person exchange and transplant at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin near Milwaukee last month. “That just it. Our lives are going to change now.”

Both kidney recipients – Thelen of West Bend and Joyce Williams of Milwaukee – had willing donors, but due to a number of medical factors were incompatible to receive a direct donation. Faced with the reality that organs would come from somewhere else, the search to find matching donors was set in motion. Continue reading
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