Jewish Journal

Just the Right Size

by Mike Levy

November 8, 2001 | 7:00 pm

Mike Jones, left, has a new kidney thanks to Patricia Abdullah.

Mike Jones, left, has a new kidney thanks to Patricia Abdullah.

This is a heartwarming story about a kidney.

The kidney in question belongs to Mike Jones. It used to belong to Patricia Abdullah.

Jones and Abdullah have very little, apparently, in common. Jones is an African American man. Abdullah is a female descendant of the Hawaiian royal family. Jones is Christian. Abdullah is Muslim. Jones lives in the city. Abdullah lives in the Valley.

They're a perfect match. Sometimes you just have to stay positive. O-positive.

Jones and Abdullah met during a success seminar. When Jones announced he would have to be late to one session because of his ongoing need for dialysis, Abdullah and other classmates got involved. After five years of dialysis, Jones was desperately in need of a transplant.

For one assignment in their seminar, Jones and Abdullah learned how to successfully make what are considered "unreasonable requests." During the in-class exercise, Abdullah shocked her partner: She said "I'm O-positive, Mike. Make an unreasonable request of me." Jones, also O-positive, took a moment to realize what she had said, then put the seminar lessons to work and made an unreasonable request: "Will you give me one of your kidneys?" So she did.

Still, all did not run smoothly. But a fellow classmate, an administrator at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, helped work out insurance problems. Cedars-Sinai's Dr. Gerhard Fuchs alleviated Abdullah's concerns about missing weeks of work at her new job by removing the organ laparoscopically, requiring only small incisions. Dr. J. Louis Cohen transplanted the healthy new kidney into Jones.

And so a Muslim's kidney is transplanted into a Christian's body in a Jewish hospital. Both patients were recovered and healthy within three days, so the kidney doesn't seem to mind. And according to Abdullah, "Both of our families are going to get together for a group photo. And that's going to be our Christmas card."

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