Reporting Denise Koch
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many people know former Orioles executive Jim Duquette, who now broadcasts on WJZ-FM The Fan. But few know the pain his family has lived with for years. Like so many others in this country, Duquette’s little girl needed a kidney transplant to live.
Denise Koch takes you inside the operating room where a father/daughter miracle takes place before our eyes.
A kiss to start a new life.
“You’re gonna be fine. You’re gonna be great,” Duquette said.
That was a conversation between Lindsey Duquette and her dad, Jim, moments before her kidney transplant–the ultimate gift from a father to his 10-year-old daughter.
“I’ll see you when we’re out, OK?” he said.
Lindsey’s kidneys started failing when she was just two years old. She doesn’t remember ever not having problems with them.
Doctors tried everything to avoid a transplant.
“When you start to get the experiment drugs, you’re at the end of the line, really,” Duquette said.
A year and a half ago, doctors were forced to remove both of Lindsey’s failing kidneys. She needed dialysis to live.
Last summer, doctors knew Lindsey needed a transplant. Now they had to find a donor.
“They tested [my dad] from blood,” Lindsey said.
He was a match.
After three months of preparation, the moment they’d been waiting for had arrived. WJZ was granted rare access to document their delicate surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The skilled surgeons worked for hours removing one of Duquette’s kidneys. At one point, the doctor actually held the kidney in his hands.
“When the kidney is removed, we have to cool it down and flush out all the blood,” said Dr. Paul Colombani, Johns Hopkins Hospital Children’s Surgeon-in-Charge.
In another operating room upstairs, surgeons worked to get Lindsey’s body ready to receive her father’s kidney.
“We’ll bring the kidney up here to the operating room where Lindsey is,” Colombani said.
WJZ was there was Lindsey’s surgeon carried Jim’s kidney from his operating room to hers. Everyone prayed this was the turning point in their lives. Many others suffering from kidney disease never made it that far.
“There are tens of thousands of patients on the waiting list nationally,” Colombani said.
One in 10 Americans has some form of chronic kidney disease.
“There aren’t enough organ donors for the need,” Colombani said.
Last year alone, nearly 5,000 people died in the United States waiting for a doctor. Lindsey’s one of the lucky ones. Just three months after her life-changing surgery, she’s back in school.
It’s hard to believe that the father and daughter who underwent surgery a short time ago are now well enough to play ball.