Health Care

Texas woman gets kidney after coronavirus delays lifesaving transplant: ‘I was hanging on by a thread’

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A Texas man has donated a kidney to his wife in need, weeks after the transplant was delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic in the U.S. that temporarily halted elective surgeries in the Lone Star State and elsewhere.

Robert Garza recently donated a kidney to his wife of 20 years, Elsa, who says she was in stage 5 renal failure prior to the transplant.


“My [glomerular filtration rate] numbers were dropping pretty dramatically,” Elsa told local news station KVUE.

Glomerular filtration rates, or GFR, are used to measure how well the kidneys are functioning.

“I was hanging on by a thread,” the mom of two added, noting she suffers from an autoimmune disorder that led to focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, or a disease that causes scar tissue to build on parts of the kidneys, ultimately prompting her need for a transplant.

Initially, Robert had planned to donate his kidney in April to prevent his wife from requiring dialysis. But the transplant was ultimately postponed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. Like other hospitals, the University Health System Transplant Center in San Antonio, where the surgery was scheduled, had stopped allowing surgeries for patients “who were stable and had a living donor,” according to the news station.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has since eased restrictions on elective surgeries in the state, allowing hospitals to resume them under certain guidelines.

The transplant, which took place earlier this week, was reportedly a success; both Robert and Elsa — who told the news station they share a birthday — are in stable condition. She is expected to be discharged sometime next week.


“To be a match was another page in the story, so I was like, ‘Wow, we’re a match in everything,’” Robert told KVUE.

“It means a lot,” added Elsa of her husband’s decision to donate. “I married my soulmate. It gives me an opportunity to enjoy the rest of my journey with my husband. He’s given me a second chance of life.”

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