by George Taniwaki
This month the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) has been highlighting its transplant program. Using a combination of traditional and social media, UW Medicine publicized its success with some great stories about its transplant patients and donors.
The first story celebrates UWMC’s 6,000th solid organ transplant. The milestone was achieved by Dr. Stephen Rayhill, a surgeon in the kidney transplant program. The patient is Frannie McLaughlin, who received a kidney from her daughter, Kiki McLaughlin-Cook (Yakima Herald Nov 2013). The surgeon and donor are featured on UW Medicine’s Facebook page, in the post reproduced below.
Incidentally, Dr. Rayhill was the surgeon who transplanted the kidney I donated. (He was not the surgeon who removed my kidney though, that was Dr. Ramasamy Bakthavatsalam.)
Next up is post featuring heart transplant patient Cindy Kehl, who this year is celebrating 20 additional years of life.
Next are Brad Bonn and Ken Price. Brad is a recent lung transplant recipient while Ken became the first listed double lung transplant recipient at UW Medicine 20 years ago (KOMO News Jul 2013).
Finally, on January 14, UW Medicine performed its first Live-Tweet of a kidney transplant surgery. The surgeon was Stephen Rayhill and the patient was Dave Skelton, a patient at Northwest Kidney Centers. (A Live-Tweet is a technique where a participant in an event provides pictures and commentary in real-time to an audience using Twitter. If you are not a Twitter user, it’s a bit hard to explain.)
Dave’s wife, Brittany, was willing to donate a kidney to him, but was not a biological match. The two asked UWMC to enter them into a kidney exchange to find a match. (UWMC is a member of the National Kidney Registry.) The NKC was able to find a match and Dave became the second patient in a chain. His new kidney came from a donor in South Carolina. Two days later, Brittany underwent her donor surgery and her kidney was sent to a recipient in Missouri.
This is a long chain involving twelve donor-patient pairs (24 surgeries total). “Being part of the 12-way swap is very exciting and humbling. It is amazing the selfless commitment the donors are displaying. People are amazing and have rekindled my faith in humanity,” says Dave. For more about kidney exchanges see this Mar 2010 blog post.
To see the slideshow version go to Storify slide show.