Originally created 08/11/05

MCG to talk on trends in transplants

Beverly Blackshear, of Savannah, had only spent one day with her new kidney Wednesday, but her husband could already see it working.

"Her attitude has changed," Alfred Blackshear said outside her room at Medical College of Georgia Hospital. "This is something she wanted."

After five years on dialysis waiting for it, "I feel different already," said Mrs. Blackshear, 56.

Caring for that new kidney, along with the latest trends in medications and surgical techniques, will be the focus of the Georgia Transplant Foundation's Trends in Transplant conference at MCG on Saturday. In the Augusta area, 123 people are waiting for the same chance, the foundation said.

One of them, Charlene Jones, plans to attend the conference and wants to know what will happen after a friend donates a kidney to her Tuesday at MCG.

"Life after the transplant," she said. "And also I'm interested in how my donor will fare after this."

Maintaining health is one of the topics that will be addressed by James Wynn, the medical director of the transplant program at MCG.

"We're to the point now where the transplants do so well and last so long that the greatest threat to the success of the transplant is the patient's general health," Dr. Wynn said. That means learning how to control some of the underlying health problems - many of them are diabetics - and other attendant problems, such as heart disease, he said.

"Many, many patients now actually keep their organs through the rest of their lives, so we're trying to make sure that they can survive with a good quality of life and also can lengthen their lives and can enjoy the fruits of the transplant for as long as possible," Dr. Wynn said.

Mrs. Blackshear wants to make that pledge to the donor's family.

She wants "to thank them and let them know how much I appreciate it and that I will take good care of myself because I know they lost a loved one," she said.

Mrs. Blackshear also has faith she will come through it well.

"I don't believe God brought me this far to let everything go wrong," she said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

By the numbers

123: People in the Augusta area who have received an organ transplant

438: People in the Augusta area on organ-transplant waiting lists

$145, 652: Amount the Georgia Transplant Foundation gave to Augusta residents


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