A Kaiser Permanente employee’s kidney donation launched a record-setting transplant chain in San Francisco.
Reid Moran Haywood didn’t set out to donate a kidney to a stranger, but when the opportunity arose he said, “It seemed like the right thing to do.”
Moran Haywood, 56, is a project manager for Kaiser Permanente’s National Supply Chain. His surgery on June 4 at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to remove one of his two kidneys launched a 36-hour, 18-surgery kidney transplant marathon that supplied nine kidneys to recipients who desperately needed them.
The story began last year, when Moran Haywood offered to donate part of his liver to a friend. After four days of testing at UCSF, he learned he was not a good match for his friend but was considered a viable organ donor. Moran Haywood said he wondered if there might be another way to help. So he called the transplant coordinator.
“I said, ‘I’m not trying to give my organs away, but if I can be of service to someone else, let me know.’”
And as it turned out, he could be of service — as a kidney donor.
Helping Nine Strangers
Moran Haywood learned that by being an “altruistic” kidney donor — someone who doesn’t have a family member or friend in need of a kidney transplant — he could launch a transplant chain that would help save the lives of nine strangers.
The chain was created by a specialized computer program that matches people who are willing to donate a kidney to a friend or family member – but find they are not a good match for their loved one — with patients who are a good match. The donors give with the understanding that their loved one will receive a kidney from another matched donor in the chain.
Moran Haywood said he made his donation out of gratitude.
“I have led an incredibly healthy and blessed life. I work for an organization that promotes good health, and I have been together with my husband for 32 years.”
There are risks involved in every surgery, but UCSF Kidney Transplant Coordinator Valerie McBride, RN, said they do extensive screening to ensure a donor’s overall health is acceptable to go forward with donation, and most donors do very well after donating a kidney.
Three weeks after his surgery, Moran Haywood said he’s recuperating and looking forward to getting back to work. He thanked his family, friends, and Kaiser Permanente colleagues for supporting him during his six- to eight-week recovery.
“You need the support of a great employer and a great family to do this.”
‘What Greater Gift Can You Give?’
Kaiser Permanente Supply Chain Executive Director Brooke Fan said there was never any question about supporting Moran Haywood.
“He did this for a complete stranger, and he’s inspiring others to do the same,” Fan said. “What greater gift can you give?”
The National Kidney Foundation reports that 101,662 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant. In Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region, the number is about 1,200 members.
As medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s End Stage Renal Disease Contracted Services, Leonid Pravoverov, MD, knows the difficult outlook these patients face.
“The waiting time for a kidney in California is five to eight years, and after five years on dialysis, only about 40 percent are still alive.”
Dr. Pravoverov said that’s why programs that encourage loved ones to make live donations are so important, and why Moran Haywood’s altruistic donation is a true gift of life.
“It wasn’t just a gift to one person. What he did made a profound difference in the lives of nine people and their families.”