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Friday feel good: Physician donates kidney to save her patient's son

A dose of feel-good to kick off the weekend.

Jonathan Chan needed a last chance.

He'd lived with chronic kidney disease for more than three decades, and his two previous kidney transplants had failed. Although he'd been on the kidney transplant list for seven years, his unique blood type made his odds of finding a match less than 1 percent.

His mother's physician, Ester Kwok, MD — a Stanford (Calif.) Medicine affiliated physician through University HealthCare Alliance at Kwok Pediatrics and Internal Medicine — didn't believe in organ donation due to her cultural and religious convictions. But after learning Mr. Chan and one of her staff members needed new kidneys, she reconsidered and joined the National Kidney Registry.

Although her staff member was received a kidney match, Dr. Kwok found out she was not a match for Mr. Chan. Still, she joined the national registry for chain donation. "I had faith that if it was meant for me to donate, the impossible would become possible," she said.

Sure enough, three years later, she received a phone call. Through a live donor match and a 12-person donation chain, Dr. Kwok would be able to help Mr. Chan get a new kidney. Although Dr. Kwok did not donate her kidney directly to Mr. Chan, her kidney went to a different kidney patient whose originally intended donor was not an exact match. A similar cycle continued — through 12 individuals, in this case — and Mr. Chan was able to receive a new kidney.

Both Dr. Kwok and Mr. Chan underwent surgery at Stanford (Calif.) Health Care in June 2015.

More from the blog:
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On the side of the light: Vanderbilt medical staff arranges private screening of 'Star Wars' for cancer patient
Friday Feel Good: How one retired engineer and his buddy are making a difference at an Alabama hospital

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