16 Patients Swap Kidneys

Donations help save lives of two nuns

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Thursday, Apr 29, 2010  |  Updated 4:58 PM CDT
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Sixteen patients swapped kidneys in what's believed to be the largest kidney donor exchange at a single facility ever.

Sixteen patients swapped kidneys in what's believed to be the largest kidney donor exchange at a single facility ever.

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The great kidney swap of 2010 is saving lives.

Sixteen people went under the knife at Northwestern Memorial Hospital last week and Monday. Eight generous donors donated their organs to eight grateful patients.

They're all recovering from what's believed to be the largest kidney donor exchange at a single facility ever.

The donors, who come from four states, packed up their suitcases and left home to save the lives of patients waiting, hoping and praying for a miracle.

Prayers answered.

The patients included two Roman Catholic nuns, one donor and one recipient, and a woman whose name appeared on a waiting list for almost a decade.

Pay-it-forward organ swaps like this form when one donor's organ goes to someone with a would-be donor who turned out to be incompatible. That person then donates to someone else with an incompatible donor and so on.

That gift of life makes life worth living for more than just patients - donors too. 

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