Paulette Chandler and Francisco Torres are involved in a unique kidney swap operation. Chandler's husband needs a kidney transplant, but their blood types do not match. The same is the case with Torres and his wife.
However, Chandler's blood matches with Torres and his wife's with Chandler's husband. Hence they have decided to swap the kidneys in an operation that is to be performed today at University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center. Around 80 paired-kidney swaps have been performed in the country, but this is the first case where an exchange will take place. Most kidney transplant patients are opting to get organs from relatives rather than wait to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. The waiting period is as much as 6 years and this has frustrated some people on the 65,000 strong waiting lists. The UIC example "provides some momentum and allows us to move forward," said University of Chicago transplant surgeon Dr. Robert Harland, "The best thing about this is you get two people off the waiting list, with the best possible kidney."