Institute Reports Near-Record "Chain" Resulting from Mulroy Surgery

Number of kidney-transplant beneficiaries said to be 28 — second largest ever.



Dr. Eason and Mulroy after the Commissioners recent surgery
  • JB
  • Dr. Eason and Mulroy after the Commissioner's recent surgery

That kidney donation by Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy is still making news, nationally this time, more than a month after the late April surgery to obtain it by Dr. James D. Eason of the UT-Memphis Transplant Institute.

In a news release Thursday to both local and national media, the Institute is touting extraordinary benefits from the domino or chain effect of Mulroy’s donation. To wit:

The second largest chain of organ transplants in the world began at the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute. Chain 221, as it's known at the National Kidney Registry, started the morning of April 30th when Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy made an altruistic kidney donation. The chain consisted of 28 recipients and ended yesterday, June 5. The largest chain had 30 recipients and took place between August and December of 2011, five months. Chain 221 took only five weeks to complete.

Several of the patients were extremely difficult to match and their chance of receiving a kidney was extremely low. Some of the hospitals involved include Emory, UCLA, Brigham and Williams, Cornell, Massachusetts General, Mt. Sinai, Cleveland Clinic…

As was explained at the time of Mulroy’s surgery, altruistic donations (i.e., organs which are banked for future as-needed use rather than being earmarked for family members, friends, or other specific individuals) free up the matching process of available organs with patients needing them. The resulting “chain” can expand the availability of organs geometrically, and this is what seems to have happened in Mulroy’s case.

Within a week of his original surgery, it was announced that it had created a chain benefiting 8 patients who were then awaiting available kidneys.

Meanwhile, donor Mulroy, who timed his surgery for the break between spring and summer sessions of the law classes he teaches at the University of Memphis and who somehow managed not to miss any scheduled meeting of the County Commission, is knitting well and has tentatively begun to resume his exercise routine.

In the aftermath of Monday’s regular meeting of the Commission, Mulroy reported that he’d made a mile run the day before — though admittedly not at his accustomed 7-minute-per-mile pace. That, he assured his listeners, would come in due time.

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