News Archive

Humanitarian donor steps forward as Mercy completes another kidney paired donation chain

Thursday, December 5, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa­— A humanitarian donor —  wanting to make a difference and inspired by news of a kidney paired donation chain performed in January at Mercy Medical Center - Des Moines — helped to change the lives of three more Iowans. Six donation and transplant surgical procedures were performed December 3 – 4 at Mercy. The January five-chain procedures and the December three-chain procedures are the largest kidney paired donation chains in the state of Iowa to date. It is unique in that all recipients and donors had their surgeries in the same hospital.

Mercy transplant surgeons Cass Franklin, M.D., FACS, and Johan Aerts, D.O., FACOS,  performed the surgeries. Three unrelated living donors provided a kidney for transplantation to three fellow Iowans. To start the chain Dixie Roorda of Pella became a humanitarian donor and provided a kidney. From there Mercy Transplant Services staff matched donors who were found not to be compatible with their intended recipient, but a match with another recipient. The pairings formed a chain, allowing multiple transplants and hope for people on organ transplant lists.

''In less than a year we have been able to provide a better quality of life through a total of eight kidney paired donations,” said Mercy Transplant Services Medical Director Dr. Cass Franklin. “The selfless gift of an organ is humbling; for the donor, recipient, clinical staff and the surgeons.

There are few gifts greater than the hope of a better of life.” Fellow transplant surgeon Dr. Johan Aerts also commented on the significance of paired kidney donation transplant chains.

“Creating a transplant chain is delicate and extremely detailed,” said Dr. Aerts. “There is great anticipation as the surgery dates come closer. This chain was delayed for a little over a month to make sure all of the participants were at their healthiest. Even though they didn’t know each other; you could sense a commitment to making sure everyone had the opportunity to donate or receive.”

In Iowa, 585 people are presently waiting for a kidney transplant. Kidney paired donation chains could help lower the wait time. A recent survey on transplantation showed more people are willing to consider humanitarian donation. Just over 50 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to donate a kidney to someone they didn’t know. All of the donors and recipients wanted to meet each other before their discharge from the hospital.

Mercy Transplant Services has served Iowans for 25 years. Dr. Franklin performed the first kidney transplant on Dec. 1, 1986. More than 400 kidney transplants have been performed at Mercy. The program has received recognition for its quality of care. In Oct.2012, Mercy received Iowa's only Medal of Honor Award at the Gold Medal level for organ donation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mercy is one of only 22 hospitals across the country selected to receive this award. In addition, Mercy Medical Center is the only multi-organ transplant center in central Iowa where pancreas transplantation is also performed.

About Mercy Medical Center- Des Moines

Mercy Medical Center- Des Moines is an 802-bed acute care, not-for-profit Catholic hospital situated on three campuses. Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893, Mercy is Des Moines' longest continually operating hospital and one of the largest employers in the state, with more than 7,100 employees and a medical staff of more than 950 physicians and allied health professionals. Mercy is also one of the Midwest's largest referral centers, offering a variety of specialty services that are unique to Iowa and the region. Mercy is a member of Catholic Health

Initiatives (CHI); a national nonprofit health system with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 18 states and includes 87 hospitals.

Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center
(515) 229-1546 cell

(515) 247-3121
1111 6th Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50314

Copyright ©2018 Mercy Medical Center. All Rights Reserved