In almost 50 years of organ transplants at the The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, there have been successes, failures, and stories that bring you to tears. This is one of those. Rick Boutwell was 66 on his last birthday, and a kidney donated by his sister had lasted fifteen years. The kidney; however, was failing, according to a post on the UTMB Newsroom.
There are around 90,000 people on the waiting list for kidney transplants, so he knew the odds were long of getting one while still maintaining a decent quality of life.
It was talked about within the family and his son 36-year-old Dayne, saying “It was a no-brainer — I was 100 percent going to give my kidney to my dad,”
Dayne, who lives in League City and frequently visits his father in Port Bolivar, called the living donor coordinator at UTMB. “My only concern I had was just being a match,” said Dayne. “If the first blood test comes back that we are incompatible, it’s like all our good intentions mean nothing.”
That was September 2014. Test results came back and Dayne was a match, the UTMB post stated. That was followed by six months of testing for both men to make sure they were healthy and ready to move forward with the transplant. There was a hitch in the git-a-long… Rick needed open-heart surgery before being cleared for transplant, but everything came together in early March.
It was a team effort by the UTMB Transplant Center’s Dr. Kristene Gugliuzza, who performed Ricky’s transplant 16 years ago, Dr. Guillermo Gomez and a team of nurses. The transplant team performs, on average, five kidney transplants per month. The majority come from deceased donors, but doctors experienced a better outcome using living donors.
Post-surgery, the family eagerly awaited the first flow of ‘liquid gold’ as it is called, urine output. That’s the true measure of a successful transplant.
More than a month after the transplant, Rick said that he felt good. “I’ve been blessed with two stand-up sons and I’m just happy to be here.”
The family is now looking forward to taking a vacation to the Bahamas and visiting the naval base where Rick was stationed in the late ’60s and early ’70s.“Going back there is going to be the last little victory dance,” said Dayne.
UTMB performed the first kidney transplant in the Houston area in 1967. In the past five years UTMB has completed more than 286 transplants. Those include 17 transplants from living donors like Dayne. Because the demand for kidney’s far outweigh the number of organ donations from deceased patients, living organ donors are vital to the process of saving lives.
The Texas Transplant Center at UTMB advises that people can and do live a normal life after donating a kidney. They report that recipients of these live organ donations typically have better outcomes.
Rob Milford is a news contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Facebook.