Doctors take an oath to help the sick, but one California doctor just went above and beyond to help a sick colleague who was dying and desperately needed a kidney.
Fifty-one-year-old surgeon Dr. Colleen Coleman has known anesthesiologist Brian Dunn, 45, for more than a decade, working together in the operating room over the years. Their relationship had only ever been professional, but when Coleman heard that Dunn’s kidneys were failing, she stepped up and offered to donate on of her own.
But first, Coleman had to be tested to be sure she was a match and admitted that she was having second thoughts and was slightly relieved when the test results said they weren’t a match. “What if I died in the process?” she asked herself. But then the testing company called back months later and explained that they had made a mistake. The two were a match, and Coleman knew she had to help Dunn. “I didn’t want his daughter to grow up without a dad,” said Coleman, whose mother had died when she was six.
Coleman and Dunn recently went through with the surgery, which went exactly as planned, and just three weeks later Dunn is feeling better than he has in years. “I am so excited about what a new kidney will mean to my life. First and foremost, it will greatly prolong my life. I’ve been told that every year on dialysis takes three years off your life. The transplant list in California is about 15 years long – 15 years of dialysis wouldn’t leave me much life even if I eventually got one through that route,” the emotional doctor wrote in an email thanking Coleman for her selfless gift.
“The most distressing part of this process was thinking of my 7-year-old daughter, Caroline, growing up without a father. She’s a tough kid, but she’s also a ‘daddy’s girl.’ I need to be there for her. And this kidney will help that be possible,” Dunne wrote. “Monday, January 30th is a day I’ll remember forever. It’s the day that someone did something truly selfless for me. Colleen, you are an answer to prayer and an amazing example to everyone around you. Thank you for your sacrifice.”
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[Featured image: Cindy Yamanaka, Orange County Register/SCNG]