18 surgeries in a nine-way, 36-hour marathon kidney transplant is a SUCCESS so far in California

One of the rarest medical and scientific stories you’ll read about today is this one right here. In San Francisco, California an insanely rare nine-way kidney transplant has actually come to fruition. While it might seem like something built out of medical testing and the work of a study, it was born out of simple necessity. The hospital where the rare kidney transplant was taking place at is known as the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and California Pacific Medical Center. Doctors have pointed out that to this point, there have been no complications measured and that it would appear as though the success is going to be continuing as the patients all recover.

Dr. Robert Osorio who is the director of transplantation at California Pacific Medical Center pointed out that, “The larger the denominator and choices you have potentially, the more transplants you can get done.” It’s a simple matter of mathematics, and in this instance, they weren’t able to successfully find donors through traditional means, so some backdoor donating was used to put this incredible nine-way transplant together.

Kidney Transplant

It’s incredible for a lot of reasons, but the way it came together organically, combined with what it can do for the medical science community as a whole with regards to kidney transplants is profound. The original couple involved found that they were not compatible to give up a kidney for the other. In that instance, a woman was one of the 7,000 people on the kidney transplant list nationally, but there was another opportunity for them.


Another duo was going through a nearly identical situation at the second hospital. When the two pairs decided that they would give up their kidney’s in an effort to put this entire transplant together, the list continued to grow. At the end, the chain consisted of nine transplants, and all were incredibly successful according to the team.

The learning experience here came as doctors learned to better understand what would lead to successful transplants, especially in this larger scale. The team of medical professionals were able to receive a real-life test sample, without actually conducting a laboratory experiment. While it remains early to determine long-term success, the medical teams with all patients believe that there is a very good reason to be excited and hopeful that what we’re seeing here could be duplicated anywhere as long as the network of resources at various hospitals is acknowledged. Ultimately, as many of the doctors involved pointed out – it simply is a matter of understanding where you are, what is available, and making the donor pool as large as possible.