KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a new chance at life for five people right here in the metro.
On Tuesday, the University of Kansas Health System performed a quintuple kidney transplant — five donors and five recipients — for the first time.
“To help five patients come off of the transplant list and get kidneys is quite a feat,” said transplant surgeon Timothy Schmidt who, along with fellow transplant surgeon Sean Kumer, completed the procedure over two days.
It’s a feat achieved for the first time in Kansas City.
With all 10 patients recovering, the University of Kansas Health System provided FOX4 with video footage and interviews for an inside look at one of the most difficult procedures doctors have done.
“This is what you go into this for is to help people,”said Kumer, the physician vice president of operative services. “And when you have good outcomes, all your hard work doesn’t seem like hard work anymore.”
“Every time someone mentions my transplant, I just smile because I’m so excited,” said Stephanie Williams who was one of five that received a kidney.
Williams was a month away from dialysis when a random donor made this procedure possible.
The way it works is some people have a family member or spouse who wants to donate but isn’t a match. However, they might be a match to another person in need of a kidney. Doctors are then able to match different donors and recipients within a group.
“Through the extreme generosity of John, we were able to start this internal chain,” and five people’s lives would be affected for the better, and they would be able to get kidney transplants,” physician Amna Ilahe said.
“I think we’re all kind of interconnected in some point of way, and if I can help somebody who’s suffering, then why not?” said Jonathan Sink who stepped up after a Facebook post called him to help.
Thanks to Sink’s generosity, Williams and four others can look forward to a healthy future.
“I’m just — I’m so, so grateful and so blessed that there’s this amazing person to do this,” Williams said.
Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System said they’re always looking for organ donors — especially those with type O blood. If you want to learn more about how to become a living organ donor, visit the University of Kansas Health System’s website.