Newark, NJ—For Servio Mendez and his family, kidneys have become a precious organ. Three members of the Mendez family suffer from polycystic kidney disease, a disorder passed down through families in which many cysts form in the kidneys, causing them to become enlarged and damaged. His mother, Denia Lugo of Jersey City, is on the waiting list for a kidney, while his brother, George Mendez, from the same town, currently has only 50 percent kidney function and will need a transplant in the near future.
Fortunately for Mr. Mendez, the wait for a kidney was relatively short. His wife of 19 years, Vanessa, donated her kidney on October 25, 2012 at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, before he was to begin dialysis. The Mendez family members, who are residents of Fords in Woodbridge Township, NJ, along with their two children, are the looking forward to a New Year free from fatigue and illness.
Mrs. Mendez says she knew from the time of his diagnosis in 2000 that she would be his kidney donor if they proved to be a medical match.
“I tell him that I gave him my heart a long time ago, so what is a kidney now?” says Mrs. Mendez. “I knew from day one that I would do this.”
For Mr. Mendez, the most worrisome part was having both of them in the hospital for surgery at the same time. His fear was eased by the supportive care they both received at Newark Beth Israel’s Renal and Pancreas Transplant Center, especially his wife.
“All of the staff members said how nice she was to do this, how sweet, and they gave her a lot of attention. She was definitely the VIP and the hero,” says Mr. Mendez with a smile.
Mr. Mendez was evaluated at Newark Beth Israel’s Edison Transplant office at 102 James Street. The surgery, performed by Stuart R. Geffner, M.D., Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Surgery for the Barnabas Health Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division, was successful and both patients have had a full recovery.
Kidney donation from deceased donors has not been able to keep up with the national need for kidney transplants. Over 5,000 people in the U.S. die annually waiting for a kidney transplant.
“Living donor kidney transplant provides a significant contribution to the organ pool while, at the same time, doubling the recipient’s life expectancy and vastly improving quality of life,” says Sadanand Palekar, MD, Program Director of Newark Beth Israel’s Renal and Pancreas Transplant Center.
The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program of Barnabas Health, located at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center, has New Jersey’s only Living Donor Institute. The average length of stay is only two days and all donor surgeries are performed using minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure.
This holiday season Mr. Mendez is looking forward to being able to exercise without fatigue and to eating the kinds of foods that previously made him ill because of his condition. At the top of his list, his wife’s special lasagna.
Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division of Barnabas Health
To get on the NBIMC transplant waiting list, or to discuss the option of living donation, please make an appointment at
Date: December 28, 2012
Contact: Beth Salamon
Public Relations and Marketing
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