St. David's North Austin Medical Center marks transplant milestone

St. David's North Austin Medical Center has the only kidney transplant center in the Austin area and it recently celebrated its 600th kidney transplant which happened over the summer.

Austin physician Dr. Anthony Hicks has a genetic kidney disease which resulted in him needing a transplant.

"I come from a big family. I'm ninth of 14 and seven of us have kidney problems," Dr. Hicks says.

His wife of 10 years, Michele Dunlap, turned out to be his match. In September 2015, Dunlap gave Dr. Hicks the gift of life.

"I was grateful because I was ready to move forward and get him a kidney and move forward with our life. And I just love him and wanted to keep him alive and around for a long time," Dunlap says.

Hicks and Dunlap's surgery was one of the 600 kidney transplants that have been performed at the Kidney Transplant Center at St. David's North Austin Medical Center since it opened in 1996.

During the past 21 years, 45% of the transplants done at St. David's have involved living donors. The rest came from deceased donors.

Dr. Richard Lewis, Surgical and Program Director of St. David's Kidney Transplant Center, has performed more than 1,000 transplants during his career. He says before someone is accepted as a potential living kidney donor they must undergo a thorough medical evaluation.

"The goals are to provide the recipient with a well functioning kidney that is going to function for a long time. That will restore energy levels and a sense of well being to normal and, actually double life expectancy over what it would on dialysis," Dr. Lewis says.

And the health of the living kidney donor is also important.

Dr. Lewis says, "So that when I look a them I can in good conscience make a judgment that by taking that kidney out I'm not going to put that person at an increased risk of dying prematurely or developing kidney failure."

More than two years post surgery, Dunlap says she has no regrets about donating one of her kidneys.

"I feel great. I'm having trouble keeping up with (Dr. Hicks). But, I'm doing fantastic. There really has been no complication for me at all. It's been very simple," Dunlaps says.

You can learn more about the living kidney donor program at St. David's North Austin Medical Center by calling 512-901-2884.

You can also sign up to be an organ donor at www.donatelifetexas.org.

 

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