Honolulu patient receives new kidney from Colorado donor & Coloradan gets kidney from Hawaii

Posted at 8:13 AM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 10:13:50-05

HONOLULU -- A nurse working in a Honolulu pediatrician's office has helped the mother of one of her patients get a kidney transplant from a donor in Colorado.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports that 25-year-old Cherish Matautia became the first trans-Pacific kidney transplant patient at Honolulu's Queen Medical Center last month. The procedure was set up through the National Kidney Registry.

Nurse Elizabeth Lehman had initially offered her own kidney to Matautia, but doctors discovered that Matautia's body would likely reject Lehman's kidney.

They then joined the Kidney Registry exchange program, which allowed Lehman to give her kidney to a patient in Colorado, while a Colorado donor's kidney was flown to Queen's Medical Center for Matautia.

Hospital officials say the surgeries thousands of miles apart were done simultaneously to ensure successful transplantation.