Sons Kidney Donation to Mom Marks 100th Kidney Transplant

December 07, 2022

kidney transplant patient magdalena lying bed and transplant nurse
  • Only program in Broward County to offer pediatric and adult kidney transplants
  • More than triples the number of lives saved within one year
  • Achieves one of the shortest ‘time to transplant’ in Florida

“I got tired of seeing her suffer, so I asked them if I could take a test,” said Justin, 43, who was a perfect match for his mom, Magdalena, 62. After 12 years on dialysis and various transplant denials, Magdalena and Justin’s living donor kidney transplantation surgeries took place in late October. This transplant marked Memorial Transplant Institute’s 100th kidney transplant performed within 2022.

Magdalena, who was born with polycystic kidneys, felt dialysis was “like a prison sentence.” She underwent multiple surgeries to try to save her kidneys and ultimately ended up on dialysis in 2009. In 2010, her social worker tried to get Magdalena on the kidney transplant list yet failed. After more than a decade on dialysis, and nearly giving up hope, everything changed in 2022 when Memorial received her petition and Magdalena received the call that changed her life.

“It’s always a great day when a patient who has been on dialysis for 12 years receives a kidney,” said Seyed Ghasemian, MD, chief of Abdominal Transplant, Memorial Healthcare System. “A living donor transplant affords a significant advantage over a deceased donor kidney transplant, as these transplants tend to have fewer complications and on average last nearly twice as long.”

Having a robust living-donor transplant program speaks to the expertise of Memorial’s kidney transplant team, which includes nationally recognized physicians in transplant surgery and nephrology. Dr. Ghasemian and Nephrologist Basit Javaid, MD, each have more 30 years of experience, with Ghasemian having personally performed more than 1,000 kidney transplantations and Javaid facilitating kidney transplantation with excellent post-transplant outcomes for patients with chronic and end stage kidney disease.

Memorial’s Kidney Transplant Program is experiencing exponential growth, more than tripling the number of lives saved from 2021 to 2022. Clinical experts credit the combination of an experienced medical and surgical team that performs innovative, complex kidney transplants, coupled with the philosophy of seeing every organ as a potential chance at life, and accepting recipients who others consider “high risk.” Due to this unique approach to kidney transplantation, the program has achieved one of the shortest “time to transplant” (12 months) and one of the highest transplant rates in Florida, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

“Memorial’s kidney transplant team is committed to ensuring the safety of our patients as we are coordinating life-saving transplants with positive outcomes,” said Dr. Javaid, chief of Abdominal Transplant Medicine, Memorial Healthcare System. “We are not turning patients or suitable organs away, and our expert team of physicians, practitioners, nurses, and support staff are addressing the disparities in organ availability by utilizing as many different methods of transplantation as possible.”

Justin living kidney donor lying in bed

Aside from living donor transplantation, Memorial’s Kidney Transplant Program offers all kidney transplant options available at other nationally recognized transplant centers, including immunologically incompatible transplants, blood type incompatible transplants, and kidney transplants from donors who have hepatitis C to recipients who do not.

“Memorial is proud to be one of four transplant centers in Florida, and one of approximately a hundred such centers in the country, working with the National Kidney Registry, a nonprofit that offers a variety of living donation programs, including paired donations, also known as “kidney swap, where a living kidney donor and their incompatible recipient enter a national database and swap kidneys with a donor who is compatible with the recipient,” said Linda Chen, MD, surgical director, Living Donor and Pediatric Abdominal Transplant Program, Memorial Healthcare System.

These physicians lead a multidisciplinary team approach to total kidney care provided by medical and surgical transplantation experts that offer highly coordinated, customized care before, during and after surgery. The team includes surgeons, nephrologists, infectious disease specialists, pathologists, nurse practitioners, coordinators, pharmacists, social workers, dieticians, finance coordinators, living donor advocates, intensive care experts, anesthesiologists, psychologists, and cardiologists, among others.

Since the Kidney Transplant Program began in 2017, 257 patients have received life-saving kidney transplants. Most recently, the program has received referrals from all over the country and has transplanted two patients from out of state.

Magdalena and Son Kidney Transplant

Magdalena and kidney transplant surgeon Dr. Linda Chen
Magdalena's son donated his kidney to save his mom's life, marking the 100th kidney transplant for Memorial Transplant Institute.