Collin and Jacki Bruce of Smithfield both recovering after surgeries
Norfolk, VA (December 7, 2011) – Collin Bruce went into an operating room at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday morning to donate a kidney to a stranger far away in another state. His donation, achieved by a surgical team led by Dr. Michael Fabrizio, lasted about four hours.
Collin’s wife, Jacki, went into surgery just before 7 p.m. to receive a kidney flown in from a donor in yet another state.
Her implantation was marked by success around 10:15 p.m. when surgeon Dr. John Colonna declared, “We have urine.” That’s a reference to the fact that implanted kidneys begin to ‘pink up’ and make urine for the recipient as soon as the surgical clamps are removed. By the time the surgical team closes up the patient, they have a fully functioning kidney. In Jacki’s case, she would wake up for the first time in years without the prospect of dialysis.
The two surgeries marked the first ‘paired kidney exchange’ at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital through its affiliation with the National Kidney Registry, a non-profit group which works to match non-directed kidney donors with recipients and shorten the time patients spend on waiting lists for kidneys.
In the Bruce’s case, Collin wanted to donate to Jacki, but they are incompatible. Through the exchange, Collin offered a kidney to the first person who was a match. In exchange, another donor who could not donate to a loved one was a good match for Jacki. So they swapped, which has become the informal term used to describe these exchanges; kidney swaps.
Per normal protocols, the donors and recipients will remain anonymous for a year. They’ll be asked at that time if they want to meet each other and the respective transplant teams will proceed from there.
Sentara Norfolk General
National Kidney Registry
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Photos from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital's First Kidney Swap: