Kidney transplant rejected
Woman faces uncertain future
By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer
A miracle happened two years ago when Judy
Church donated one of her kidneys to her grandchild’s mother, Rachel
Poe, who suffers from IgA Nephropathy Disease, a non-diabetic kidney
Rachel Poe and her 3-year-old daughter
Emma. Express photo by David Seelig
But circumstances have changed since that
hopeful day in December 1998. Today, Poe, now 21, is rejecting that kidney
and facing an uncertain future of hospitals, dialysis and waiting for a
match. About half of all kidney transplant patients will experience at
least one episode of rejection, according to the National Institute of
Diabetes and Kidney Diseases.
Today, Poe remains at her mother’s home
in the Heatherlands, with her 3-year-old daughter, Emma.
"She reminds me to take my medicine.
Brings me water and pills on the dot of 8 o’clock every morning,"
Poe said. "It’s awesome."
Poe’s ankles are badly swollen and her
arm is healing from the recent insertion of a dialysis catheter, which
will take two months to heal. She cannot receive dialysis—which removes
waste products from her blood--until it does.
If her blood-level results look bad, she
will be given an emergency hemo-dialysis through an artery in her neck or
hip, she said.
Poe was at the University of Utah hospital
in Salt Lake last month to receive medication to halt the rejection of the
kidney. Even though the medication didn’t work, she was left with a
$75,000 hospital bill.
Poe had been throwing up repeatedly, which
is how the doctors discovered the kidney was being rejected. They also
determined she had developed ulcers, which prevented the digestion of her
Poe has been unable to find a kidney match
within her family due to other complications.
Her mother, Barbara Brandt, is "not a
match, otherwise she’d donate right away and would for anyone," Poe
Her brother, who is a match for her O+
blood type, is a pilot in the Air Force and if he gave up a kidney, he’d
loose his ranking and livelihood, Poe said.
"I wouldn’t ask that of him."
Her father lives in Bellevue and also is a
match, but has severe hypertension, is on medication and has been rejected
as a donor.
People with type O+ can donate to any other
blood type, but can only receive from someone with the O+ blood type.
Poe will not be placed on the national
kidney donation wait list until she is actually on dialysis.
"I’m doing pretty well right
now," she said, though she is admittedly already quite weak. "I
hope I don’t have to go on dialysis at all. It was the sickest I ever
The last time she was on dialysis, prior to
the 1998 transplant, her weight dropped to 92 pounds and she was unable to
She’s keeping tabs on her lungs, since
extra fluid can build up in her system, and takes medication to control
A fund-raising effort is under way to help
augment her medical bills. In the meantime, donations can be made to Poe
through a fund at the Silver Creek Alternative School: 788-9410, or
through her employer, Primavera Flowers, in Ketchum: 726-7788.