Just a few days before his 63rd birthday, Michael Malone, DDS, received a life-changing gift from his dental school roommate: a kidney.
In 1989, Dr. Malone was diagnosed with an incurable disease called IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger's disease, which occurs when an antibody builds up in the kidneys. He believes the disease was a result of a virus he contracted in high school.
Although Dr. Malone, who is now retired, was able to manage the disease for more than 40 years, he says the “bottom fell out” in 2014 when his kidney function dropped to less than 5 percent. He was on dialysis for 10 months when he was contacted by his former roommate, Tom Howard, DDS, who offered to donate a kidney. It turned out that the men had compatible blood and tissue types and the successful transplantation took place on Jan. 20, 2015.
More than half of the transplants at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center involve kidneys. In fact, the outstanding milestone in January 2019 of the 10,000th adult organ transplant happened to be a kidney from a living donor. Boasting one of the world’s preeminent transplant programs, the center’s specialists are recognized as pioneers in the development of many surgical and medical innovations for treating patients, like Dr. Malone, with end-stage organ disease. One of the longest standing and highest volume programs providing patients with some of the best outcomes in the United States, the transplant center is uniquely positioned to offer patients a second chance at life.
It is because of this strong history of innovation and pioneering spirit, combined with a focus on patient care and quality outcomes, that individuals such as Dr. Malone, choose the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center for their lifesaving transplants. “My experience at Barnes-Jewish was top notch,” Dr. Malone says. “It gave me my life back. This is the best I’ve felt in 20 years. It was a miracle and I am so grateful.”
With a commitment to meet the needs of more patients like Dr. Malone, both now and for future generations, the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital transplant team, in partnership with The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital, has a vision to create a comprehensive Center for Solid Organ Transplant. The establishment of such a center will further leverage collaborative multi-disciplinary research, accelerating the ability of scientific discovery to be translated into the clinical care of patients. The result – more patients have access to the miracle experienced by Dr. Malone.