Double kidney swap miracle

October 2, 2009 4:21:11 PM PDT
Tamira Ferrar is grateful for a kidney transplant that ended a year of dialysis and years of being sick with kidney disease."It's given me a new lease on life. I feel like I have a second chance," Tamira said.

Tamira's transplant was not typical. The 38-year-old's husband Carlos offered the mother of their 4 children his kidney, but wasn't a medical match.

So doctors at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden linked them to an anonymous New York couple in the same situation where that wife needed a kidney and the husband didn't match. Tests determined each husband could donate to the other's wife in what's called a paired exchange or double swap.

The transplants were done on Wednedeay. The harvested kidneys were escorted north and south along the turnpike to each wife. The transplants were successful. The Ferrers hope to meet the other couple someday.

"It was just miraculous how it all worked out. it worked out for her and it worked out for me. And both of our husbands gave," Tamira said.

Carlos goes home today. Tamira and her new kidney join him Sunday. Local doctors say paired exchange or double swap transplant programs are expanding as more people sign onto exchange lists.

Carlos, who's celebrating his 37th birthday today, says seeing the love of his life get another shot at the life she loves is a gift beyond imagination.

Failing health forced Tamira to quit teaching a few years ago, but she now plans to get back in the classroom.

"It's made me look at life. I will never take any day of my life for granted. I will live each day like it's my last day," Tamira said.


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