Back to Home Page

Local Links
Sun Valley Guide
Hemingway in Sun Valley
Real Estate

For the week of December 20 through 26, 2000

Kidney transplant rejected

Woman faces uncertain future

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 disease.

Rachel Poe and her 3-year old daughter. photo by David SeeligRachel 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 medication.

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 said.

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 was."

The last time she was on dialysis, prior to the 1998 transplant, her weight dropped to 92 pounds and she was unable to walk.

She’s keeping tabs on her lungs, since extra fluid can build up in her system, and takes medication to control that.

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.


Back to Front Page
Copyright © 2000 Express Publishing Inc. All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited.