A soldier’s desire to save a fellow soldier’s life doesn’t always stop when the mission is complete. Retired Lt. Col. Beth Ward was having a casual conversation with her colleague and fellow Retired Lt. Col. Scott Porter at the United States Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., when the topic turned to organ donation and she mentioned she’d like to be an organ donor and save a life someday.
It wasn’t until a few days later that Porter asked if Ward was serious, because he desperately needs a kidney transplant. Porter suffered from total kidney failure in February, and since then has been giving himself nine hours of dialysis each night.
“My problem with kidneys could have stemmed from one of (my) deployments that manifested inside of me … we just don’t know,” said Porter. The first thing that came to Porter’s mind when Ward offered her kidney was “that the Army takes care of its own … we go through a lot together and we never leave a comrade behind, and I think this is a perfect example of that.”
Upon learning of Porter’s need for a kidney, Ward immediately called The University of Kansas Hospital to begin the screening process. She’s now scheduled to donate her kidney to Porter on Tuesday, Nov. 12, one day after Veterans Day. Although the procedure’s timing is random, both admit the proximity to Veterans Day holds special meaning.
“How many times do you get a chance to save somebody’s life? I think that’s pretty awesome,” said Ward. “The military is like a family … if you can help some member of your family, why not?”
According to Dr. Sean Kumer, MD, surgical director of transplantation at The University of Kansas Hospital, the odds of a non-relative being a match are long.
“Two unrelated people being a match is a one in 30,000 or 40,000 chance, which is pretty incredible odds for them to be working together and know each other so well,” said Kumer.
The University of Kansas Hospital is the region’s premier academic medical center, providing a full range of care. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, and their various leading-edge research projects. The constantly growing facility contains 674 staffed beds (plus 24 bassinets) and serves more than 28,000 inpatients annually. Nine of its medical and surgical specialty areas are ranked nationally by the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospital” lists, including Cancer (#27), Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#23), Diabetes & Endocrinology (#38), Ear, Nose & Throat (#21), Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (#19), Geriatrics (#18), Nephrology (#35), Neurology & Neurosurgery (#20) and Pulmonology (#17). The cancer program is part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute designated program. The hospital has received Magnet nursing designation, reflecting the quality of care throughout the hospital, an honor awarded to only 6.6 percent of the hospitals nationwide. The hospital also houses the region’s only burn center, the area’s only nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center and the area’s only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center recognized by The Joint Commission. For more information, visit kumed.com.
SOURCE The University of Kansas Hospital