Badgers and Wolverines Share Thanksgiving Gift of Life

Transplant recipientsMADISON - Two Badgers and a couple of Wolverines met for the first time on Tuesday - not at Camp Randall, but at UW Hospital and Clinics.
 
In only the second paired exchange transplant performed at UW Hospital, two people will receive new kidneys just in time for Thanksgiving - just not from their original intended donor.
 
On November 22 at UW Hospital, Michael Pascoe, 55, of Lake Lindon, Michigan will receive a new kidney from Tom Vogt of Janesville. At the same time, in an operating room down the hall, Michael's wife Wendy will give her kidney to Vogt's father-in-law, Clarence Delwiche, 65, also of Janesville.
 
This wasn't the original plan.
 
Although Wendy was evaluated as a donor for Michael and Tom was evaluated as a donor to Clarence, their blood types were incompatible, meaning neither were suitable donors. Approximately one-third of people who want to donate a kidney can't donate to their recipient because they have incompatible blood types.
 
Kathleen Schappe, a transplant coordinator at UW Hospital and Clinics who works with both families, discovered that by swapping kidneys between the two pairs, the transplants would work. She contacted each family separately, asking if they would be interested in a paired exchange.
 
To be expected, both donors are a little nervous, but as Wendy Pascoe points out, "This transplant will return two people's lives to normal."
 
Both Michael, who has type 2 diabetes, and Clarence, who has polycystic kidney disease, have been on dialysis three days a week for more than a year.
 
Tom, who works with a man who donated a kidney, knows his kidney donation will change his family's life.
 
"My daughters adore their Grandpa," says Tom. "After the transplant, he'll be healthier and able to enjoy his time with them even more."
 
Stuart Knechtle, MD, is one of four UW Health transplant surgeons who will manage the exchange.
 
"We're happy for Michael and Clarence," says Knechtle. "The waiting list for a kidney transplant is long. Wendy and Tom are helping not only Michael and Clarence, but they opened up two spots on the waiting list. Their generosity ultimately changes four, not two lives."
 
The four people will meet for the first time on Tuesday when they come to UW Hospital and Clinics for their pre-operative evaluations. The surgeries are scheduled for Wednesday, November 22, the day before Thanksgiving.
 
Wendy hopes she will enjoy a turkey dinner at the hospital.
 
"At least I don't have to cook, and there are no dishes for me to wash this year," Wendy says.
 
UW Health transplant surgeons Knechtle and Jon Odorico, MD, will perform the transplants on Clarence and Michael. Tony D'Alessandro, MD and Thomas Chin, MD will perform the surgeries on the donors.
 
Most live donors are related to the recipient, either emotionally or biologically. Both tissue and blood-type compatibility are evaluated, and if found to be incompatible, recipients are forced to find another living donor or wait for a kidney from a deceased donor.
 
Even at UW Hospital and Clinics, where the wait times are significantly lower than the 15.5-month national average, kidney recipients will wait an average of 5.9 months for a deceased donor kidney.
 
Clarence and his wife, Nancy, drove back to Wisconsin from their "snowbird" house in Arizona over the weekend. Tom spent this past weekend deer hunting in Northern Wisconsin.
 
"We teased him about being extra careful hunting this year," adds Clarence. "I didn't want him to hurt that kidney."
 
The UW Hospital and Clinics kidney transplant program was established in 1966, and is the most active kidney and kidney/pancreas transplant program in the country. On average, 360 kidney transplants are performed annually, with almost 7,000 since the program's inception. Living donors account for 35-40 percent of the program's transplants. Over 1,000 people in Wisconsin are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

Date Published: 06/06/2007


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