PHOENIX (Aug. 5, 2022) – Thanks to the living donor kidney transplant team at Banner – University Medicine in Tucson, four patients have received donated kidneys from four life-saving donors in a complicated paired kidney exchange donation that took place in Phoenix and Tucson at Banner’s academic medical centers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team will recognize the kidney donors and recipients at a pre-game ceremony taking place on Saturday, Aug. 6 at 4:30 p.m. to raise awareness for kidney donations.
During the pre-game ceremony, the kidney donors will meet their kidney recipients for the first time and present them with a personalized Diamondback baseball jersey. Kidney donors also will be honored with a personalized jersey for their generosity in giving.
The Banner Health kidney transplant surgeries took place the week of April 11, 2022 and spanned over three days involving transplant surgeons and other transplant team members working at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and Banner – University Medical Center Tucson. It is the largest paired kidney exchange to take place at Banner thus far.
The typical waiting time to receive a donated kidney is 3 to 4 years, many of those waiting for a kidney donation die while waiting for this life-saving treatment but thanks to the generosity of one Banner nurse, four people’s lives were saved.
Abigail Bruder, 30, is a perianesthesia nurse helping those who will undergo or are recovering from anesthesia at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, and she has a bucket list. Her bucket list contains things she hopes to accomplish or experience in her lifetime.
As a nurse, Bruder says that caring and giving to others is the core of what nurses do and day-to-day she has direct contact with those battling illness. As a young, healthy person, Abigail felt compelled to include a kidney donation on her list to help others who were not as fortunate.
Bruder’s compassion and giving spirit was the trigger to make the eight-patient lifesaving, paired kidney exchange possible and on April 13 she was able to scratch kidney donation off her list. Paired exchanges are only possible if there is a paired donor with a paired patient and without Abigail’s donated kidney, the paired exchange would not have been possible.
Knowing that her contributions were a catalyst for the whole process to take place, she is relieved and thankful that everyone involved in the kidney exchange is recovering and doing well.
Jake Madlock’s previous kidney, a cadaver-donated kidney, had served him well for 14 years, but his kidney began to fail leaving him in dire need of a new kidney. Jake was placed on waiting list while the hospital worked to find someone whose blood type and tissue type matched his own.
To help keep Jake off dialysis in hopes that she could be his living kidney donor, Jake’s wife, Jenni Madlock, tested to see if she could be a match. She was not a match for Jake but the transplant team at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix told her there was another way she could donate for Jake. Jenni signed up to be a part of the paired kidney exchange program joining a group of other willing kidney donors unable to help their loved one but willing to donate a kidney to save someone else.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are over 100,000 people currently waiting for a kidney transplant with over 3,000 new patients being added to the kidney waiting list each month. Each day, 13 people die while waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant. Paired kidney exchange programs help to decrease the wait time and save lives.
Aneesha Shetty, MD, MPH, director of the living donor kidney transplant program at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson spearheaded the paired kidney exchange and led the complicated coordination process with her Tucson-based transplant team to link the four patients in-need with four willing donors.
“People who have someone willing and healthy enough to donate but are not a match for their loved one can volunteer for a paired exchange. Our team evaluated everyone in this program and worked to pair them up with someone in need who they match with but being paired with a willing donor is the key to shortening the wait time and saving lives,” said Dr. Shetty. “Abigail’s generosity and selflessness made this exchange possible and I’m thankful for the coordination and expertise shared between our two academic medical centers and our transplant programs,” she added.
With the successful outcome and coordination between Banner’s two academic medical centers, the living donor kidney transplant teams are looking forward to coordinating more paired exchange kidney transplants to continue providing hope and saving lives.
To learn more about Banner Health transplant services please visit: https://www.bannerhealth.com/services/transplant
To contact the Banner Living Donor Team in Phoenix call 602-521-5900; In Tucson call: 520-694-8888
To register as an organ donor, please visit: DonateLifeAZ.org/Diamondbacks
To download photos and videos of interviews with the patients and physicians involved with the paired exchange, please email [email protected]