PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- There's a unique way to donate organs through Banner Health, making a major impact for kidney transplant recipients. The times are changing, and one organ donation can save several people's lives at one time.
"Before, when we'd have an anonymous donor, only one person would get transplanted. Now, if you start a chain, you get five, six, seven people transplanted with one original donor," said Dr. Alfredo Fabrega, a kidney transplant surgeon at Banner Health.
Organ donor Robert Garcia knew donating his kidney would save at least one person's life. But, through a kidney chain transplant, he quickly learned about a different kind of procedure at Banner Health. “To find out it was going to have a trickle-down effect was a pretty neat concept," Garcia said.
Here's how the transplants work:
A humanitarian donor or, in this case, donor one sets off a series of transplants. That donor would donate their kidney to recipient one. Then the family of recipient one would pay it forward and donate their kidney to a stranger. That creates donor two and recipient two. That chain continues until a series of doctors complete the surgery.
In this case, Garcia saved 64-year-old Brian Boucher's life. They met for the first time today.
"I can't thank him enough. It’s incredible knowing we have folks who give us a chance," Boucher said. "I thought it was amazing how everything fell together."
Brian's nephew, Shawn, continued the chain and donated one of his kidneys to a stranger after realizing he was not a match for his uncle. He helped save three people's lives.
For more information, go here.