Dr. Adam Bingaman calls his group of kidney transplant professionals “The Incompatible Team.” But what they really are is masters at making matches.
The Texas Transplant Institute at Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital, in October, is nearing it’s 50th multiple donor kidney exchange and changing lives for those who were running out of hope of getting off dialysis. The process, explains Bingman, is to make matches from a database of patients who have donors willing to give a kidney, but are incompatible.
Two-way or three-way swaps are then made to bring the donors together with recipients that match. The process involves four to six operating rooms and multiple teams to remove the kidneys and transplant them. A person with transplanted kidney lives an average of 10 years longer than people on dialysis, Bingaman said. Watch the video of Delia Gonzales Silvas, the Tejano singing sensation who took part in the program’s first triple swap.
One thing that makes the San Antonio program so successful in finding the matches is the diverse patient base that includes African-Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians, making the donor search easier. Before people found out about the program, usually through Internet or word of mouth, some spent up to 12 years on dialysis waiting for the right circumstances to come along, such as the untimely death of a compatible donor.
“We give hope to people who had previously had their hope taken away,” Bingaman says. “That’s the goal of our program, and we work hard every day to try and get more of these done. And I’m hopeful the program will continue to expand and continue to reach more people from surrounding states and around the country so that more people can benefit from receiving the true gift of life.”
— Travis E. Poling, SA Health Voices