Patients in Dallas and N.Y. receive New Kidneys in Lifesaving Gift Swap

Photo courtesy Methodist Health System.

Cedar Hill man gets Transplant at Methodist Dallas Hospital from Donor 1,600 Miles Away

DALLAS — While so many of us are exchanging presents this weekend, one North Texas family will be celebrating a lifesaving gift swap between one kidney transplant patient at Methodist Dallas Medical Center and another 1,600 miles away in New York.

When Rogelio Aguilar Correa needed a new kidney, a generous family member was quick to play St. Nick. Unfortunately, that organ was not a match for the 71-year-old Cedar Hill resident. But thanks to the Paired Donor Kidney Exchange, Rogelio found a perfect match: another donor living in New York state.

After receiving his new kidney Wednesday, Rogelio will spend the holiday recovering at Methodist Dallas, but he hopes to be discharged before the New Year. In the meantime, he and his family say this will be a Christmas to remember.

“This is a gift from God — of life,” Rogelio said in Spanish. “Feliz Navidad!”

The kidney donated by Rogelio’s family member was sent north to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y., where it was transplanted into another grateful recipient. Rogelio’s new kidney was removed from a living donor and flown south to Dallas.

The Dallas surgeries, both the local donor’s and Rogelio’s, were performed Wednesday by Richard Dickerman, MD, surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program at Methodist Dallas, and Alejandro Mejia, MD, executive director of organ transplantation at the hospital.

“This transplant will save his life,” said Dr. Dickerman, who performed Rogelio’s surgery, “because at his age, staying on dialysis for any prolonged period of time would have such a bad effect on his heart and his blood vessels.”

This is Rogelio’s second kidney transplant, said Dr. Mejia, who used robotic surgery to remove the local donor’s organ.

“The first lasted 16 years, until diabetes forced him back on dialysis a year ago,” Dr. Mejia said. “He’s been on our transplant list since August 2021, so he’s been waiting for this Christmas gift for a while.”