Twelve patients at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) made history in 2015 through a unique lifesaving event: a six-way kidney donation transplant.
The surgically and logistically complex procedure took two days. It was the largest conducted in the CPMC Transplant Center’s 44-year existence.
Led by five dedicated, collaborative surgeons, the clinical team also included anesthesiologists, physician assistants, nurses and more than 40 other support staff.
The transplant “chain” began thanks to the giving spirit of Zully Broussard, an altruistic organ donor from the Sacramento area. She simply wanted to help and did not have a specific recipient in mind. Her generosity triggered the rare kidney swap, which matched six donors and six recipients. The swap allowed friends and family members, who couldn’t donate to their loved ones, to donate to strangers. In turn, the strangers’ loved ones donated back to the original loved ones—forming the ultimate circle of generosity.
I lost a son to cancer and lost my husband not long ago. So, I know what it feels like to want an extra day and not be able to have it,” Zully Broussard, altruistic donor.
“The significance of the altruistic donor is that it opens up possibilities for pairing compatible donors and recipients,” said Steven Katznelson, M.D., medical director of CPMC’s Kidney Transplant Program. “Where there had been only three or four options, with the inclusion of the altruistic donor, we had 140 options to consider for matching donors and recipients.”