Donor Reunion

1 decade 8 months 1 week ago Saturday, September 15 2007 Sep 15, 2007 Saturday, September 15, 2007 2:56:00 PM CDT September 15, 2007 in News

"It's very overly emotional and very gratifying," says kidney recipient Tracy Simms-Zucco.

A kidney swap is a paired exchange worked out when a person in need of a transplant has a willing donor with an incompatible blood type.

A match is made with a second recipient and donor and two transplants are possible. In this case there were three.

The round-robbin kidney transplants took place August 30,2007, at Manhattan's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

"Instead of utilizing only patients who have incompatible donors, we took it one step further. We said what if we take people who have compatible donors but utilize them to facilitate swaps also," says Dr. Lloyd Ratner, a surgeon.

The multiple kidney swap took a lot of heart and involved two married couples and two individual men.

 John Feal, founder of the Fealgood Foundation for 911 first responders, was one of the donors.

"Your kidney really works well, thank you!" says kidney recipient Eleanor Burns to Feal.

"And I feel honored just to be here and sit next to my new buddy," responds Feal.Eleanor's husband, Kwok Eng, donated his kidney to Tracy Simms-Zucco.

Mrs. Zucco's husband, Gus Zucco, donated to Paul Grossfield.

"If it wasn't for something like this we'd have been looking at years and years more on dialysis," says Gus Zucco.

"It's a completely different outlook on life. Now we have something to look forward to and have a cause to work for," says Paul Grossfield.

All six donors and recipients have been released from the hospital and say they have a new bond with each other for life.

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