(Reuters) — Doctors at a San Francisco hospital began an unusual series of kidney transplants yesterday with 6 living donors providing organs to 6 patients in a chain that began with a woman described as an altruistic donor unrelated to any of the recipients.
The 1st donor and recipient went into surgery at California Pacific Medical Center at 7:30 a.m., with 2 more donor-recipient pairs on the schedule for yesterday, then the remaining 3 pairs today, hospital spokesman Dean Fryer said.
The chain of donations began when Zully Broussard, 55, of Sacramento, whose son and husband both died of cancer, offered to donate a kidney to a friend, but the friend ultimately had to use another donor, according to hospital officials.
Still willing to donate, even to a stranger, Broussard was matched with a man from Benicia, Calif., triggering a domino effect. That man’s sister-in-law, who was not a match for him, agreed to donate her kidney to a Fresno woman, while her son, in turn, would be a donor for another woman, and on it went.
“I’m excited, not nervous," Broussard told San Francisco’s KNTV news on the eve of surgery. "I know there’s going to be a life out there that’s extended. I feel like there is a higher power behind all this, making it happen. I didn’t realize it was so huge. I’m just a small part of the chain."
The 6-way transplant involving a dozen people is the largest kidney swap in the 44-year history of California Pacific’s transplant center. In 2011, the hospital became the state’s first to do a 5-way swap, Fryer said.
"It is just amazing that we’re able to create this large of a chain within a single hospital," Fryer said. "You’ve got 6 people who now have a 2nd chance at life."