Research Medical Center June 22, 2018

Research Medical Center—part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider—today announced that multiple physicians and skilled staff have performed an eight-person kidney donation and transplant chain involving four living donors matched to four recipients.

Also known as paired kidney exchange, the transplant chain includes an altruistic, anonymous donor, three other donors and four grateful recipients who come from different communities across the region, including out of state.  

Research Medical Center nephrologist Pranavkumar Dalal, M.D., initiated the planning for the kidney transplant chain. 

“This allows recipients to receive their organ from a living donor and helps patients get to transplant quicker,” Dr. Dalal says. “Many times, this means getting patients off dialysis sooner, enhancing their quality of life.”  

The chain of four kidney transplants over a two-day period is a way to match willing, living donors with recipients affected by kidney disease, even if they are strangers. The program allows patients who have a willing but incompatible donor the option of joining an exchange registry to be matched with donor/recipient pairs in the same situation. Doctors and clinical experts work diligently to find other patients in a similar position, so they can match donors and receive matching kidneys more quickly.

"It all begins with an amazing, altruistic donor," says surgeon Joe A. Cates, M.D., who performed the four kidney extractions. "Everyday heroes—people willing to give their kidney in order to save another person's life—made this transplant chain a reality. Thousands of people are waiting for life-saving transplants in the Kansas City region alone. This paired exchange between living donors and their recipients helps raise needed awareness that giving the gift of life is one of the most important things a person can do for another person.”

“A multi-disciplinary team of more than 40 skilled professionals worked for five months to meticulously and passionately orchestrate and then perform this incredible transplant chain,” says surgeon Daniel Murillo, M.D., who performed the transplants. “All eight surgeries went very well, and the recipients are recovering. The four individuals receiving new kidneys have a new lease on life. A living donor kidney functions, on average, 12 to 20 years.”

“We are grateful for those who have chosen to give the gift of life and truly blessed to facilitate these donors and their recipients and families,” says Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, Research Medical Center chief executive officer. “Organ and tissue donations save and heal many lives each year and the Research Medical Center team, including skilled and compassionate physicians like Dr. Dalal, Dr. Cates and Dr. Murillo, is honored to recognize the tremendous gift given by members of our community. It personifies our commitment to our mission: The care and improvement of human life, above all else.”

Meet Kara McGhee, kidney donor; Lori Kloepping, kidney recipient; Cady Pembroke, living donor transplant coordinator at Research Medical Center; and Dr. Dalal here.

According to the Midwest Transplant Network’s website, throughout the United States, the need for organ donation is significant, with more than 120,000 men, women and children currently awaiting lifesaving organ transplants and tens of thousands more awaiting life-enhancing tissue or corneal transplants. On average, 22 people per day die due to lack of available organs for transplants and another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. While 95 percent of Americans are in favor of being a donor, only 54 percent are registered. Nearly 2,000 people in Missouri and 500 people in Kansas await lifesaving transplants. Registered donors can save as many as eight lives, which may include releasing two people 

from dialysis treatments by donating kidneys; enhancing the lives of up to 75 more people, which may include giving sight to two people by donating corneas; and helping to repair injured bones, joints and other tissues through bone and tissue donation

To join the donor registry today, visit Give Hope Share Life at 

For more information on Research Medical Center and its full spectrum of services, visit