A doctor made a touching donation of his own kidney to a patient who had a rare blood type and desperately needed the organ. When Dr. Aji Djamali learned that John Jartz might have to wait five to seven years for a kidney donor in October of last year, he became quite worried.
We were almost finished talking when I said, “I know someone with your blood type who would be interested in being your donor,” said Dr. Djamali to PEOPLE. He and Jartz had been friends for a long time, and they both knew he wouldn’t survive the organ transplant waiting period. Jartz exclaimed in wonder and relief, “Who is it?” to Dr. Djamali.
In looking back, he said, “And that is when I told him: me.” The 58-year-old doctor told the two pals the news, and they both started crying. The doctor continued, “Even now, when I talk about it, I feel upset.
When His Patient Couldn’t Find a Kidney Donor, This Doctor Gave His: ‘It’s a Feeling That’s Hard to Describe’ https://t.co/DZSGfV1Baf— People (@people) August 22, 2022
As a young doctor-in-training, Dr. Djamali was moved by the idea that one person’s selfless commitment may enhance another’s life, according to UW Health.
When Jartz was informed that he had a donor, he was rendered speechless. Although he was close friends with Dr. Djamali, he had not expected him to volunteer as a donor. Dr. Djamali was one of ten potential donors on the list. After UW Health began evaluating each donor individually, it was found that he was almost a perfect match for Jartz.
Seven years prior, Jartz had received a diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a hereditary disorder that results in the kidneys enlarging and eventually failing. On June 29, Djamali, a nephrologist who oversees the medical school at Maine Medical Center, was brought into an operating room and had his kidney removed. Another team was on its way to deliver the organ to Jartz in a matter of minutes.
Just two days after the procedure, Dr. Djamali returned to work after the transplant was successful. “I’ve always been in awe of those who give their organs. It held my attention. I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to just talk the talk. I wanted to follow through” he said.
I talked to my wife, and she told me, “If you want, you may go for it, and I’ll be here to support you,” the man recounted.
When reflecting on the event, Djamali finds it challenging to describe what it’s like to give a piece of his body to another person. He stated: “It’s a difficult emotion to put into words. It’s like seeing the birth of your own child. It’s just this feeling of liberation, jubilation, and joy.”
The seasoned doctor understood that his deed would motivate others to follow suit. He stated: “To aid John was a portion of the motivation. The second reason, though, was to motivate individuals to consider stepping forward and aiding the more than 90,000 patients across the country who are on waiting lists for transplants.”