BALTIMORE, Johns Hopkins University surgeons performed three simultaneous kidney transplants in a complex piece of medical choreography that had nurses rushing organs in labeled coolers among six operating rooms.
"We each have a piece of each other inside us," said one of the recipients.
The six synchronized operations -- three to remove the kidneys, three to implant them -- became possible after an extraordinarily lucky, six-way organ match among the patients, their friends and their families.
All six patients were doing well after Monday's surgery. Each recipient met his or her donor for the first time on Friday.
The surgery lasted 11 hours, with two doctors, two nurses and two anesthesiologists in each operating room.
Dr.Montgomery called the coordinated operations "logistically a monumental experience," and described the matching of each of the three transplant patients with a healthy stranger as a "Eureka-type moment."
Montgomery said the patients had cleared the most dangerous time for transplant patients -- the first few days after an operation.
"It was really possible because these three donors desperately wanted to see their loved ones receive a kidney and were open to any possibility to make that happen," Montgomery said.