Organ donor greets boy after kidney operation

Both patients well, Hopkins doctors say. Woman to be discharged

September 11, 1999|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

An Indiana woman who donated her kidney to a Harford County teen-ager had an emotional reunion with him yesterday and is scheduled to be discharged today.

Joyce A. Roush, a 45-year-old mother of five from Fort Wayne, Ind., got her first glimpse of 13-year-old Christopher Bear Bieniek since surgeons transplanted her left kidney into him Tuesday.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where the procedure was performed, said both patients are doing well.

"I feel exactly like I thought I would feel," Roush said, appearing with Bieniek at a news conference at the hospital. "Probably not like I want to run a marathon this afternoon. Each day is a little bit better."

Homecoming set for Monday

Bieniek, who has had the tubing removed that enabled him to receive daily dialysis treatments, is expected to return to his Aberdeen home Monday.

Yesterday, Roush gave the teen-ager a football autographed by one of his favorite players, Indianapolis Colt Peyton Manning, and a Chicago Bears cap autographed by players Curtis Ennis and Jim Flannigan.

Bieniek gave Roush a photo of himself with the inscription, "I love you Miss Joyce" on the back and a card with a note referring to her as his "other mother."

"She's a part of our life now," Terry Bieniek, Christopher's mother, said before turning to kiss Roush. "She's very special to me; she's family."

An unusual gift

The operation was an unusual donation by a healthy donor to a non-relative. Doctors used a surgical technique known as a laparoscopic nephrectomy, using a camera inserted into the abdomen to remove the kidney after making a 2- to 3-inch incision below the patient's navel.

The technique is less painful and requires a shorter hospital stay than conventional surgery.

Roush has said that part of her desire to donate was to make others aware of the more than 45,000 people nationwide who are awaiting transplants. Officials said yesterday that there has been an increase in calls and interest in donating as a result of Roush's donation.

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