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LUTHERAN – KIDNEY TRANSPLANT FROM GENEROSITY OF DONOR

Recipient Colleen Smith leaves the hospital with a little help from donor Robert Martz. Members of the transplant team follow. (L-R) Cindy Alexander, RN, clinical transplant coordinator with the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, Mahendra Govani, MD, medical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, Margaret Scatena, RN, program administrator of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center and transplant surgeon Tarik Kizilisik, MD, surgical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center.
Recipient Colleen Smith leaves the hospital with a little help from donor Robert Martz. Members of the transplant team follow. (L-R) Cindy Alexander, RN, clinical transplant coordinator with the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, Mahendra Govani, MD, medical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, Margaret Scatena, RN, program administrator of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center and transplant surgeon Tarik Kizilisik, MD, surgical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center.
In February, 47-year-old Colleen Smith of Fort Wayne was on a kidney transplant waiting list at a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and Rev. Robert Martz, also 47, was still unpacking and learning the names of his parishioners at Topeka Mennonite Church in southern LaGrange County. Four months later, both are forever linked by Martz’s extraordinary act of kindness, a healthy kidney and local medical history.

On Thursday, June 14, 2007, Smith became the recipient of the region’s first kidney transplant performed by physicians at Lutheran Hospital with an organ donated by Martz. Both are recovering well after their procedures. Smith was released from Lutheran and Martz has already gone home.

The procurement and transplant lasted approximately five hours. Transplant surgeon A. Tarik Kizilisik, MD, surgical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, led the transplant team during Smith’s procedure. He was assisted by Vincent Scavo, MD, of Indiana-Ohio Heart.

The laparoscopic procurement of Martz’s kidney was led by Northeast Indiana Urology physician Erik Weise, MD, medical director of robotic surgery at Lutheran Hospital. He was assisted by Ted Wagner, MD, also of Northeast Indiana Urology.

More than a dozen caregivers on the transplant team contributed to the procedures including anesthesiologists William Pond, MD, and Jean Schantz, MD, both from Associated Anesthesiologists.

The pre-and-postoperative care for Smith has been primarily overseen by Mahendra Govani, MD, medical director of the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center, with assistance from Dr. Kizilisik and nephrologist Andrew O’Shaughnessy, MD, of Indiana Medical Associates. Martz’s care has been provided by Dr. Weise.

The story behind the story is nothing short of amazing. Smith’s parents, Dan and Jan Rines of Topeka, are members of the congregation Martz joined as pastor at the beginning of the year. Unknown to them at the time, Martz had considered donating a kidney two years earlier before a potential recipient found another match. Still willing to trade what he describes as two weeks of personal recovery for someone else’s 15 or 20 years of good health, Martz shared the idea with Smith when they met on his first Sunday in the pulpit. As her condition became weaker, he underwent testing that revealed a common blood type and a 3 of 6 antigen match – uncharacteristically favorable results for two individuals who are not related and more than enough for his kidney to be considered acceptable for her.

During much of the spring, good fortune appeared to be leading Smith and Martz on a five-hour journey to the Badger State, but that all changed last month when the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center received approval to perform transplants in Smith’s hometown. After transferring to the kidney transplant waiting list at Lutheran, it was only a matter of days until the date was set.

Colleen, who was on dialysis for approximately four years, was referred to the Lutheran Kidney Transplant Center by nephrologist Greg Johnson, MD, of Indiana Medical Associates.

An interesting side note to Lutheran’s first kidney transplant is the participation of Dr. Pond who was also the anesthesiologist for the region’s first heart transplant at Lutheran in 1985. Pond just returned to work after completing his fifth medical tour of duty in the Middle East as a representative of the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard.

The Waynedale News Staff

The Waynedale News Staff

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