Paul Bannan's kidney donation has started a chain of events that resulted in seven lives being saved on one day. The Victorian man had come to donate a kidney for his compatible friend Rob Cairns in 2011.
But before Bannan was ready to donate, Cairns received a kidney from a deceased donor. But he decided to stay on the program of donation. Before he was allowed to donate, Bannan had to undergo a complete lifestyle transformation.
"My GP wanted me to cut down the smoking, watch my cholesterol, drop the sugar out of my diet," said Bannan.
Usually a kidney donation occurs between two people who know each other. But in the case of a paired kidney exchange, patients with willing donors who are incompatible swap donor kidneys.
Professor Steve Holt, the director of nephrology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, said, "With the paired kidney exchange we often facilitate two transplants, or perhaps three transplants but seven is the biggest transplant chain we've managed to date in Australia."
Victorian and NSW hospitals took part in a paired kidney exchange, involving six hospitals which has saved seven lives in one day. Surgeons performed 14 separate operations to remove and transplant kidneys, with flights organized to deliver the organs to and from Melbourne and Sydney.