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D.C. Surgeons Perform 13 Kidney Transplants In Six Days

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By David Schultz

The transplant surgeries were part of a so-called kidney exchange, in which incompatible donors and recipients partner with each other to find a match.

Earlier this month, doctors at Georgetown University Hospital and the Washington Hospital Center took kidneys out of 13 donors and put them into 13 recipients. That's 26 people, the largest exchange ever attempted.

Dr. Jimmy Light with the Washington Hospital Center says he has been working in the transplant field for 40 years, "and this is truly the most remarkable thing I've ever seen in all these 40 years," he says.

For Kelvina Hudgens, a D.C. native, the kidney exchange was miraculous. She gave her kidney to a stranger from Missouri so her mother, who'd been on dialysis for 15 years, could receive a kidney from someone else. "Even though she didn't get the kidney from me," Hudgens says, "she was able to get one because of me, and someone else was able to give her one."

The Washington area has the highest rate of kidney disease in the nation, and doctors with the two hospitals say they'd like to do another, even larger kidney exchange in the future.

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