The Doctors: Kidney Swap
The Doctors had a very special reunion on their show today. Eric and Grace are a married couple with two children. Shortly after the birth of their son, Grace was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease, which later caused her kidneys to fail. She underwent a successful kidney transplant in 1994. However, the kidney began to deteriorate and she needed a new kidney again 15 years later.
Meanwhile, in another area of the United States, Bob and Diana, a married couple with three children, had a very similar problem. Bob began experiencing problems with his kidney and knew he needed a transplant. Diana wanted to donate hers, but she wasn’t a match for Bob.
The Doctors: Live Donor Exchange Program
Both couples were told they’d have to wait for years for a new organ from the deceased donor waiting list. Both couples turned to the live donor exchange program, which uses a nationwide database to match willing donors with patients who need organ transplants. The program matched both couples. So Eric donated a kidney to Bob, and Diana donated a kidney to Grace. Now, the couples are meeting for the first time on The Doctors.
The couples had a very tearful reunion on the show. Dr. Travis said it was amazing that both families were able to share each other.
The Doctors: How Does Donor Exchange Work?
Director of the UCLA Kidney Exchange Program, Dr. Jeffrey Veale joined them on the stage to talk about what happened. He said that what happened was a computer program matched them. Eric had B blood type wanted to donate a kidney to his wife, who had A Blood Type. Diana had A Blood Type and she wanted to donate a kidney to her husband, who had B Blood Type. So it was really this program that helped everyone, even though one couple was in L.A. and the other was in New York. The kidneys were shipped through commercial airlines.
The Doctors: Where Did Donor Exchange Come From?
Dr. Veale said that the idea of a live donor program came from Korea, where it is against cultural norms to take an organ from a deceased person. So people started donating their kidneys while still alive and they came up with this idea of matching people who wanted to donate kidneys to their spouses but weren’t able to because they weren’t a match.