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Kentucky man receives life-saving organ from Facebook friend

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 12:52 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Adam Scheiter has been given another chance at life.

He was born with a genetic condition called polycystic kidney disease. It progressively got worse in his mid-20′s, leading to kidney failure last November. As he underwent months of dialysis, the Kentucky father was put on the transplant list.

“It can be rough because the average size of a kidney is half a pound,” Scheiter said. “My kidney was 11 pounds.”

Scheiter’s wife, Chrissy, would routinely post updates on their social media pages. It eventually caught the eye of an acquaintance.

“You see a lot of those things on social media but for some reason, his [story] just really laid heavy on my heart,” Emily Hagan said. “It just felt like this was something I was being called to do.”

Hagan knew Scheiter’s wife growing up in Kentucky and was the nurse of their daughter years ago.

Hagan discovered she was a match for Scheiter after getting tested, and after praying and talking to her family, she made the selfless decision to donate her kidney to him.

“It feels good to know that I have impacted not only his life, but I’ve impacted Chrissy’s life. I’ve impacted his children’s lives,” Hagan said. “He’ll be able to watch his kids grow.”

On April 15th, UK Healthcare performed the transplant surgery.

Only recently have they resumed transplant operations. Most healthcare facilities were unable to perform organ transplants during the height of the COVID pandemic because they were considered elective surgery; doctors did not want to bring patients into the hospital and risk getting COVID-19.

“It’s been really wonderful to see that we got that back because patients have been waiting and they benefit from living donation,” UK Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program Surgical Director Dr. Meera Gupta said. “It is a way to get their life back and COVID-19 just set us back a little bit.”

The virus continues to be a threat to the vulnerable transplant population. Plus, a new study from Johns Hopkins University found the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may offer little to no protection for transplant patients.

“Transplant patients, immunosuppressants were not included in the original studies that were used to get approval by the government,” Dr. Gupta said. “So now that we have them available, we are vaccinating our transplant patients.”

As the medical community learns more, she recommended that transplant patients take additional precautions while the country continues to fight the virus.

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