Oklahoma City_A Marlow woman has a new kidney thanks to the largest paired-kidney transplantation in the country. 12 people were matched at 3 hospitals, including Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. At each hospital was a mis-matched pair: a willing donor and someone who needed a kidney. So, at each hospital, simultaneously, the donor has a kidney removed, and it's immediately shipped to the hospital where there is a match. Then, the transplant surgery begins.
For 48-year-old Tina Chumbley of Marlow, life's been tough for a while. She's had diabetes for years and kidney failure four years ago. She's been on dialysis ever since. Her daughter found out she was a match and waited till she was old enough to donate, but then Chumbley got sick.
"By the time it was time to reschedule the surgery, we were not a match anymore. And so that was pretty devastating," said Chumbley's daughter Jennifer Evans.
But Evans heard of the paired program. Her kidney wouldn't go to her mother, but she would still save her life. Just days after the surgery, she can already tell the difference. "She looks better than she's looked in years. She has so much color to her face now. She's doing great," said Evans.
Her mother couldn't be more proud. "Oh my gosh. She is special. And I love her so much. I tried to talk her out of it because she was so young. But she insisted. I'm so proud of her," said Chumbley.
Her kidney went to Scott Clark of Moore, Oklahoma, who felt the same way. "There's no words, I'm sitting between the two most beautiful angels in my life," said Clark. Scott's sister donated a kidney that went to a recipient at Barnes Jewish Hospital in Missouri. They sent their donor kidney to Johns Hopkins in Maryland. Their donor kidney came to Tina Chumbley at Integris Baptist. "I'm so proud of the person that donated to me and stuff. Cause of course they don't know me and everything, but we have a bond now," said Chumbley.
Doctors started all surgeries at the 3 hospitals at 6:30 AM C.S.T. on Saturday by first taking kidneys from the donors. The kidneys were transported by private jet to each hospital involved. And by the end of the night on Valentine's Day, each recipient had a new and fully-functioning kidney.
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