Pamela Agee – Paired Kidney Donation Success Story

Paired kidney donation – a tale of 3 cities and 6 patients

Pamela Agee, paired kidney donation patient success story at Methodist Dallas Medical Center

Most living kidney donors know they’re going to save one person’s life. But John Agee got to help save three lives, including that of his wife, Pamela.

That’s the beauty of paired organ donation — giving the gift of life to someone while someone else gives that same gift to your loved one.

Sharing life through paired donation

Mrs. Agee had spent five years on the transplant list.

“In 2012, when John discovered the option of paired organ donation and was willing to personally get involved, it offered renewed hope for our family,” she says.

While many patients may have willing donors, their bodies aren’t always compatible with their donors’ kidneys, as was the case with Mrs. Agee. In paired donation, the goal is to find another incompatible donor-recipient pair and swap kidneys.
Sometimes there are more than two pairs involved (the record is 30!) and in the Agees’ case, there were three.

On July 10, three kidneys made cross-country trips to save three lives:

  • The kidney of Mr. Agee (donor 1) was removed and sent to Baltimore.
  • The kidney of donor 2 in Baltimore was removed and flown to Cleveland.
  • The kidney of donor 3, from Cleveland, was removed and flown from Pittsburgh to Dallas and was transplanted shortly afterward.

Follow the journey of paired kidney exchange

Teamwork and timing

The surgical team at Methodist Dallas Medical Center included Alejandro Mejia, MD, who removed Mr. Agee’s kidney, and Richard Dickerman, MD, who transplanted Mrs. Agee’s new kidney.

“I hope that people will see the benefits and change their attitudes about organ donation,” Mr. Agee says. “It has made a difference in our lives, because Pam is no longer tied to dialysis every morning and evening.”

Thanks to three generous donors, her last dialysis treatment was the morning of July 10, the day of her transplant.

Watch the Agee family's story of paired donor kidney exchange:

From the winter 2013 edition of Shine magazine.