SAN ANTONIO, Dec. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In late December in San Antonio, Texas, a 36-year-old mother of three from Jefferson City, Missouri, gave her best friend the most precious gift of all: a healthy kidney and the promise of a new life for the New Year. The procedure took place at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital and represented another milestone: the 200th live donor kidney transplant performed in 2016 at this private hospital. This is the greatest number of live donor kidney transplants ever completed in a single year at any transplant center in the USA, according to hospital officials.
A gift of a friend's love
Since 2007, Chané Gildon, a single mom of two teenage girls from Odessa, Texas, battled kidney disease with ever-stronger drugs. Stephenie Gardiner watched her best friend's energy and health steadily decline. In September of 2016, Chané's nephrologist told her it was time to choose: dialysis for the rest of her life or a kidney transplant.
The prospect of dialysis three-to-four times a week, for an estimated four hours per treatment, did not fit into the life Chané knew she wanted for herself and her daughters. She chose to pursue a transplant. But it was not easy. With 100,000 people in the United States on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, only 12,500 annually receive a kidney while 5,000 die and 3,000 grow too weak for the operation. Another 400,000 never make it to a waiting list and continue on dialysis, with an average life expectancy of five years versus 12 to 20 years for a kidney transplanted from a living donor.
Chané's doctor suggested she seek a living kidney donor. After her mother and brother were tested in September and found to be incompatible, Chané told Stephenie the devastating news, seeking only solace from her best friend. Instead, Stephenie offered her a kidney. In late November, Stephenie was tested and deemed a match, and on December 23, a few days after Chané's 40th birthday, the live donor kidney transplant took place.
"Initially, I had concerns about my own health with only one kidney." said Stephenie. "But I couldn't stand to see Chané growing weaker and suffering. So I trusted my faith and knew I was meant to do this."
A program of commitment, caring, and innovation
The kidney transplant program at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital began in 1984 and expanded with the opening of the Texas Transplant Institute in 1999. Since 2008, the program has focused on shortening the time patients spend on the transplant waiting list by opening access to underserved Texas markets and by generating awareness of the value of live kidney donation.
One of the key surgeons driving the growth of the program through its Living Donor Exchange is Dr. Adam Bingaman, Director of Abdominal Organ Transplantation. The program is also strongly supported by the hospital's administration, led by CEO Jeff Wilson. But as noted by Chief of Staff and Transplant Medical Director Dr. Matthias Kapturczak, a transplant nephrologist and key member of the multidisciplinary transplant team who deals closely with both recipients and donors: "It is the courageous and generous living donors who are essential; without them, there is no program."
What's next? Life!
When asked what was next for her, Chané Gildon did not hesitate in responding, "LIFE!" Her best friend, Stephenie Gardiner, agreed. "We're going to do things now that we haven't been able to do." She also added that the transplanted kidney covers all future birthday and Christmas gifts for her friend – who grinned from ear-to-ear as she nodded and wiped away a tear.
About Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital
Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, is a full-service hospital specializing in abdominal organ transplants (kidney, liver, and pancreas), bariatric surgery, vascular and robotic surgery, psychiatry, inpatient rehabilitation, treatments for cancer and incontinence, as well as forensic and emergency care for survivors of sexual assault ages 13 and older. It also offers a Level IV Trauma Emergency Department open 24/7/365. In late 2016, the hospital earned an 'A' in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assessment of more than 2,600 hospitals nationwide. It is designated as a Center of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Excellence by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. And its kidney transplant program is the largest in Texas, ranked among the top centers nationally, and recognized for its expertise in live donor kidney transplants from unrelated donors. A campus of Methodist Hospital, Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital is conveniently located on Floyd Curl Drive near Wurzbach Road, in the heart of the South Texas Medical Center.
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SOURCE Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital