Families involved in kidney swap meet

October 10, 2008 5:02:15 PM PDT
Friday two families who were part of an unusual kidney swap surgery met for the first time.Northwestern Memorial Hospital says it's the first surgery of its kind there. And that's because one of the families already had a match, and did not even need to do the swap.

A Northwestern Memorial Hospital room was full of joy late Friday afternoon. Family members of loved ones, two donors and two recipients are meeting for the first time.

The two groups are celebrating Thursday's successful kidney swap. Kidney swaps are nothing new but this one is different.

"What we call this is an altruistic swap where that pair said OK even though I can give to my intended recipient, I'm going to go into this pair and exchange with someone else to help the other pair out," said Dr. John Friedewald/Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Alejandro Fonseca is a type O and can donate his organs to just about anyone.

"It hasn't really settled in yet but all I know is it was the right thing to do," said Fonseca.

He was planning on donating his kidney which was a match to his best friend's dad, Sang Yi but the two selflessly agreed to mix things up to help the Plummers. David Plummer was going to give his kidney to his dad, Ray, but his type a positive wasn't a match so David Plummer's kidney was transplanted to Yi and Fonseca's kidney was given to Ray Plummer.

"I don't know how you say thanks to someone who would do that. It's an unselfish situation certainly," said Ray Plummer, kidney recipient.

"We just know what my father went through and we explained all of this. He had a translator and we explained all of this that he was going to be exchanging and he wanted to help someone else because he knows what he was going through," said Suzi Warner, daughter of the recipient.

David Plummer who is an executive producer of "At the Movies" on ABC7 says the swap has changed his outlook on life.

"It kind of gives you faith in the human race it really does. It's an amazing thing that someone could do something like that when they don't have to," said David Plummer, kidney donor.

The two recipients were both on dialysis and desperately needed the transplants.

Doctors say that all four patients are doing well. The donors can go home Friday, and the recipients can go home Saturday.


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