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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

U of U Hospital employee receives kidney donation from Nephrologist brother-in-law from Wisconsin

    Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

steve perry and bob haw


MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Clinic pediatric nephrologist Dr. Bob Haws has counseled families about kidney donation for years in his medical practice. Since becoming a kidney donor himself, Haws said he can now speak from experience about making a life-saving gift.

Haws had supported and counseled his brother-in-law, Steve Perry of Salt Lake City, for years while Perry battled kidney disease, but when Haws learned in March 2011 Perry would soon need dialysis, he started the donor evaluation process.

“I felt a spiritual drive, that this is what God would want me to do,” Haws said.

He said Perry might have had to wait two to seven years for a transplant, a time period many patients with kidney disease don’t survive.

After undergoing blood tests and human leukocyte antigen tests, Haws learned he was a three out of six match with Perry — a very compatible match usually seen between parents and children. The transplant surgeries were scheduled for Oct. 11, 2013, at the University of Utah Hospital where Haws had attended medical school.

“It really came out of the blue when he said he wanted to donate,” Perry said. “When I married his younger sister 40 years ago, if someone had told me he’d be giving me a kidney, I’d have laughed them out of the room, but things have a way of changing.

“There’s really no way to tell how much gratitude there is,” he said.

Perry’s quality of life has improved dramatically since the transplant. Before receiving his kidney disease diagnosis, he regularly bicycled up to 100 miles in a single weekend. A month before the transplant, he struggled through a 5K walk for the National Kidney Foundation and would become fatigued doing his job repairing medical equipment.

Perry returned to work about three and a half months ago and said he’s looking forward to participating in cycling events with this son this summer.

Haws’ recovery also went smoothly — he was out of the hospital in three days and back to work in seven.

“It’s not as big a deal as I always thought,” he said. “I can still go skiing and do normal things.”

Haws said becoming a donor has made him feel closer to parent donors and has helped him counsel them through the process. Many potential donors fear having only one kidney will impact their energy levels, ability to work or ability to have children, he said.

“I tell (potential donors) the anxiety about donating a kidney shouldn’t be there, but now I can speak with authority about it and be more sincere when talking to parents,” Haws said. “I want people to know donation is a wonderful, loving act of kindness.”


3 received kidney transplants in a chain of giving

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

3 receive kidney transplants in a chain of giving

SALT LAKE CITY — Three people are recovering after receiving new kidneys. What makes their medical procedure so incredible is the connection they share — living donors who came together as part of a paired transplant exchange.

All three received a kidney last week, including Hayley Fershtut’s 2-year-old son, Beckham.

“The people who have stepped up to save my baby’s life, it’s been amazing,” Fershtut, of Layton, said through tears.

When Beckham was born, doctors discovered his kidneys did not fully develop and were functioning at just 12 percent of what they should be.

“He had a window of a couple of months that we needed to get this done in order to avoid having to put him on dialysis,” explained Dr. Raoul Nelson, a pediatric nephrologist at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Since the surgery Sept. 11, the little boy is doing so much better, according to his parents.

“He couldn’t walk before. He couldn’t keep any food down before,” said Beckham’s father, Ari Fershtut, “and now with this new kidney, he should be able to live a very normal life, be able to catch up and walk and run like other kids and go outside and play with them.”

The surgery was dream come true for Beckham’s parents. Ari Fershtut was going to donate a kidney to his son, but they were not a match.

“The kidney was something that we personally couldn’t give to him, and I am so grateful to them that will step up and come to give him something that we couldn’t,” Hayley Fershtut said.

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The toddler’s kidney came from Kristy Buffington, of Twin Falls, Idaho. The 37-year-old wanted to donate her kidney to her friend Brandy Jess, 40, but last-minute tests showed they weren’t a match.

“So I decided to donate to her, and then we came down (in July) and the final cross-match said we weren’t a match, that the first test was actually wrong,” Buffington said.

They were ready to turn around and go back to Idaho when Buffington said they were approached about the paired exchange program. She told doctors she was willing to do the paired exchange only if there was a guarantee that her friend would receive a kidney. After a couple of weeks, matches were found.

Even though Buffington wasn’t a match for Jess, she’s happy she was able to help a little boy.

“It was really awesome to be able to help this little guy at the same time,” Buffington said. “He’s only 2, so that was pretty cool, too.”

While Ari Fershtut, 32, was not a perfect match for his son, he was a match for Juan Romero, 45, of Wendover, who waited three years for a transplant and had been on dialysis. Both men had the same rare B-negative blood type.

“The doctors say the kidney is working very well,” Romero said.

Now, he has a new lease on life, thanks to people he had never met before.

“I’m just grateful I got to help my son, but also help (Romero) as well,” Ari Fershtut said. “It’s a bonus on top of that. It’s great that I got to be a part of it.”

Bartling’s gift began a chain reaction that resulted in three people receiving a kidney. His went to Jess, Jess’ friend Buffington was a match for 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut, and his dad, Ari Fershtut, was a match for Romero.
Their surgery was performed Sept. 12.

Jess’ transplant exchange was made possible by Ted Bartling, 51, of Morgan. He is known as the good Samaritan in the exchange because he has no relation to anyone else involved.

“I’m just some guy off the street that had a weird idea that I would go in and see if I could help somebody other than myself,” Bartling said. “I just knew there was someone that matched.”

It took six months of testing and looking for a match, and then the hospital called him to say they found someone he could help.

Bartling said he was feeling great six days after donating a kidney. He had no idea who would receive the kidney, but after the surgery he met Jess.

“(She’s) a mother, a wife, and that means the most to me,” he said.

Buffington said her good friend is making progress and the two of them share a much stronger bond, even though Jess didn’t receive one of Buffington’s kidneys.

“She is kind of having a rough time of it, but she will make it,” Buffington said. “She is an amazing person. She’s got a good, positive attitude, so she will get there.”

But Bartling’s gift began a chain reaction that resulted in three people receiving a kidney. His went to Jess, Jess’ friend Buffington was a match for 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut, and his dad, Ari Fershtut, was a match for Romero.

Enlarge image
Two-year-old Beckham Fershtut received a kidney from Kristy Buffington in a paired transplant exchange last week. His father, Ari Fershtut, wanted to donate his kidney but wasn’t a match. (Photo: University of Utah Health Care)
“And that way we were able to build a chain and take two incompatible pairs plus a non-directed donor and transplant three patients,” said Dr. Jeffrey Campsen, who performed all three surgeries on the donors.

University Hospital was the location where all the kidney donors had their surgeries, along with two recipients. Primary Children’s Medical Center was where the surgery on 2-year-old Beckham Fershtut was performed.

Ari Fershtut said the whole process was a great idea.

“Instead of helping one person, six (people’s) lives are affected, and it’s a wonderful blessing,” he said.

Bartling said donating a kidney has been life-changing for him, a chance to give back for what he has.

“We really do have to help each other, to make society better, and we have to give more than we take on occasion, and that is how I got to be here. I wanted to give more than I take,” Bartling said. “It’s such a great feeling, just to help.”

Donate the Car, Keep the Memories

    Friday, August 30th, 2013

donate the darn car

Donate the Car, Keep the Memories

Kidney Disease a Hidden Risk

    Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
kidney disease a hidden risk

kidney disease a hidden risk

3D printers to revolutionize the medical field with printable kidneys

    Monday, August 19th, 2013

3D Printers to Revolutionize the Medical Field with Printable Kidneys

Kidney Disease, an Underestimated Killer, By Jane E. Brody, New York Times

    Monday, July 15th, 2013

underestimated killer

Kidney Disease an Underestimated Killer

Kidney disease is so highly underestimated because the leading causes are common high blood pressure and diabetes. Keeping those two conditions under control (when they can be controlled by lifestyle choices) is a major contributor to avoiding kidney failure. Kidney failure isn’t called the silent killer for nothing. Love your Kidneys! Know what keeps them healthy. What keeps your kidneys healthy keeps your heart (and the rest of you) healthy too. So it’s the best buy one get 10 free deal around.

Kickin’ it with Kidney! Come walk the Kidney Walk!

    Thursday, June 13th, 2013

To sign up for the Kidney Walk visit our Kidney Walk website here

How Long Will You Live? Pee in a Cup to Find Out.

    Friday, April 12th, 2013

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, urine has a long history of communicating valuable information. For centuries, mammals have used urine to mark their territory and ward off predators. For humans, the urinary color wheel sends us daily messages about our hydration status: Dark yellow clues you in to grab some water, while crystal clear lets you know you’re probably quite hydrated.

Urine also has the ability to tell us much more about our health, and according to new research may even contain valuable information in predicting longevity. Yes, that’s right — the key to how much longer you’ll live may be hiding in your urine. You just need to know what to look for and which test to receive. Before channeling your inner Sherlock Holmes, let me assure you that the answer is simple. All you need is a urine test to detect protein. This presence of protein in your urine may becutting years off your life, and you can easily expose it by peeing in a cup.

You may be wondering how protein can end up in the urine in the first place. Healthy kidneys act as filters that keep protein in the bloodstream and the body, so most healthy people have very little protein in their urine. When the kidneys’ filters have been damaged, protein can “leak out” of the kidneys and end up in the discard pile, also known as urine. The presence of protein in the urine, or proteinuria, is an early indicator of kidney damage and cause for alarm.

While protein in the urine has long been an indicator of kidney damage, this recent study, examining men and women between the ages of 30 and 85, for the first time showed a link between mild and heavy amounts of protein in the urine and shorter life spans. How much shorter? Compared with people with severe or “heavy” amounts of protein in the urine, the life expectancies of men and women without protein in the urine were more than 15 years longer. They also outlived those with mild amounts of protein in their urine by more than eight years. Imagine what you can do with all that time!

Before your imagination runs wild, remember that you must detect the protein in the urine. Then there’s plenty to be done to preserve both your kidney function and your longevity. Checking the urine for protein involves a non-invasive and inexpensive test, so speak up next time you’re at the doctor’s office, especially if you’re at increased risk due to diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of these conditions or kidney disease.

If protein is found in your urine, your doctor should determine the cause. For example, are your blood sugar levels within the normal range? Is your blood pressure properly controlled?Hypertension and diabetes are two of the leading causes of kidney disease and uncontrolled blood sugar and blood pressure levels can severely damage the kidneys. Pre-diabetes and pre-hypertension can also damage the kidneys, so these conditions should also be taken seriously. If you have blood and protein in the urine, this may be a sign of nephritis, which is an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units. Determining why the protein is “leaking” into the urine is important because it will help your physician devise a treatment plan which might include a combination of medication regimens, dietary change or lifestyle modifications.

Next time you head to the bathroom, consider what your urine might be trying to tell you. It may just hold the answer to how long you’ll live.

For more information, visit the National Kidney Foundation at

For more by Leslie Spry, M.D., FACP, click here.

National Kidney Foundation Overview

    Thursday, April 12th, 2012

When you donate your car to Kidney Kars, these are some of the people you help! Thank you!

    Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Friday, April 6 – 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Library Square Downtown (the Donor Monument)
210 East 400 South, SLC – Parking is $1/hour
For all dialysis & transplant patients & their families!
Lunch, Easter egg hunt,
Music, & Easter Bunny

Prizes will be given for: Best Easter Basket, Best Easter Bonnet, Craziest Socks!