Six people were recovering Wednesday from transplant surgery after doctors gave them seven organs from the same donor.
"This is the first we've ever done with the two lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas," said Susan Kuslis, clinical director of the California Transplant Donor Network, which coordinates organ recovery for five northern California transplant centers.The donor's identity and cause of death were not released to protect the grieving family. Storms of publicity surrounding successful transplants tend to discourage family members from authorizing organ donations, Kuslis said.
The extraordinary donation was possible in part because the donor was in good health, she said.
Four of the recipients were listed in serious but stable condition at Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center. The two others were reported in critical but stable condition at Stanford University Medical Center.
Although donations of three and even four organs are not unusual, fewer than 1 percent of organ donations nationwide have involved seven organs given to different people, said Wanda Bond, a spokeswoman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which administers organ procurement nationally. Record keeping began Oct. 1, 1987, she said.
"For all the organs to be viable and that every one had a match, that's terrific," said Bond.
Hearts and lungs must be recovered and transplanted within about four hours, experts said. Kidneys can last up to 72 hours and must be offered nationally in an effort to find the best genetic match, but recipients were also found locally.
At Stanford, one of the donor's lungs helped a woman who had been awaiting a transplant for a year; the other lung went to a woman who had spent five years with a lethal lung disease.
The donor's heart went to a 60-year-old San Francisco man suffering from terminal cardiac disease, and one of his kidneys aided a 35-year-old man with end-stage renal disease, Pacific Presbyterian spokeswoman Julie Murray said.
His other kidney and his pancreas went to a 34-year-old Berkeley woman with diabetes and renal failure, Murray said. The liver went to a 38-year-old woman from Tacoma, Wash., whose own liver had failed, she said.