Surgeon donates kidney to fellow physician at Hoag

When anesthesiologist Brian Dunn, MD, went into liver failure last year, a fellow surgeon at Newport, Calif.-based Hoag Health System gave him an exceptional gift: a new kidney.

When Brian Dunn, MD, was 16, a physician discovered a large tumor in his stomach and an enlarged testicle, reports the Orange County Register.

"The doctor told me I had less than a 1 percent chance to live," said Dr. Dunn. "He told us to consider hospice care."

Dr. Dunn's parents took him to Indianapolis, where he was given a new combination of chemotherapy drugs that saved his life, but ruined his kidneys. Dr. Dunn went on to become the valedictorian of his graduating class in high school, before attending Stanford (Calif.) University for his undergrad and getting his medical degree from University of California, Irvine.

At age 25, physicians told Dunn his kidneys were failing. Without any hesitation, his mother gave him a kidney. While the kidney kept Dunn healthy for two decades, he started dialysis in April 2016.

Colleen Coleman, MD, a surgeon at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, had worked with Dr. Dunn for more than a decade in the operating room. After Dr. Coleman discovered she and Dr. Dunn had the same blood type, she took a test to see if she was a compatible donor match. The test came back negative and Dr. Dunn spent months unsuccessfully looking for other suitable matches.

It wasn't until last June that the testing company reached out to Dr. Coleman informing her there had been an error in her test, and she was in fact a match. The physicians underwent organ transplant surgeries on Jan. 30 and Dr. Dunn's health has improved dramatically.

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