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Good Samaritan's offer leads to 4-way kidney swap

Posted Aug 12 2008 4:22pm

I wanted to post this feel-good article for two reasons: #1 We need to read MORE good news! There just seems to be so much bad news reported that when one sees a good deed done its like a breath of fresh air! (and I wanted to share that with you!) #2 All of us in the Assisted Reproductive world (ART) as egg donors, sperm donors and surrogates (and those who help us along the way) MAKE LIVES. We add to a family tree...a leaf....a branch and that is what makes us special just as the people in the article below are special heroes to those who needed them most!

Have a great day!
Sharon

Good Samaritan's offer leads to 4-way kidney swap

By Jordan Lite

Daily News Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 5th 2008, 12:17 AM

Anthony DeGiulio gets hug from recipient Barbara Asofsky. Watts/News

Anthony DeGiulio gets hug from recipient Barbara Asofsky.

Daily News

One good Samaritan determined to donate a kidney to anyone who needed it set off a chain reaction that let four patients without a compatible organ donor get transplants.

The four-way kidney swap at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia is believed to be the largest performed in the city. The July 24, all-day endeavor involved nearly 50 clinicians working in eight operating rooms.

"It's easily the greatest thing I've ever done in my life, and also the easiest decision I ever made," said Anthony DeGiulio , 32, the altruistic donor who got the idea from a TV program.

"It was a dream of mine to save someone's life, and this is the only way I could come up with to do it," explained DeGiulio, a securities trader from the Dutchess County town of Red Hook .

Here's how it worked: Three area patients with kidney disease had family members who wanted to donate an organ to them but couldn't because their blood types didn't match.

DeGiulio was a match for one of those patients, Barbara Asofsky , a 57-year-old nursery school teacher from Wantagh , L.I. She got his kidney.

Asofsky's husband, Douglas, 56, was a match for Alina Binder , a 22-year-old Brooklyn College student.

Binder's dad, Michael, 46, was compatible with Andrew Novak , a 42-year-old telecommunications field technician from Poughkeepsie .

And Novak's sister, Laura Nicholson , 40, was a suitable donor for a patient on the waiting list, Luther Johnson , 31, a hotel kitchen steward from Harlem .

None of them knew who their donor or recipient would be before the surgeries, but the donors didn't have to think long about whether they'd give their kidney to a stranger. "I didn't care who it would go to; I knew it would save a life - and save Barbara's life," said Douglas Asofsky , a bank veep.

Kidney swaps are becoming an increasingly important option for patients facing a years-long wait for a donor organ, said Dr. Lloyd Ratner , director of renal transplantation at the hospital. There are 76,650 people in the U.S. waiting for donor kidneys with 6,673 in New York , officials said.

The swaps, also known as paired exchanges, have been responsible for 373 kidney transplants in the U.S., the United Network for Organ Sharing said.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins University performed a six-way exchange in April. They believe that a national registry of living kidney donors - including those willing to donate to strangers - could result in 6,000 transplants a year.

Some of his friends and family thought DeGiulio was "nuts" to donate his kidney, he said. "I wish it was more common," he noted. "I sacrificed three days of my life, and this woman gets her life back. If I could feel like this every day, I'd do it any day of the week."

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