Patient Stories

A friend in deed

Ambrose loves his family, his job and fishing. Thanks to a good friend and a kidney transplant, he should be able to enjoy all three for quite a while.

Ambrose, of Union, MO, was an active father and grandfather. He enjoyed his work as a bus driver for special needs patients in Franklin County. He especially loved fishing, spending much of his free time with a rod and reel. When hypertension caused his kidneys to fail Ambrose’s doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital told him a transplant was his best bet for a normal life. Because none of his family members were donor candidates, he would have to go on the waiting list for a donor organ. The wait for a donor organ could take years.

Home dialysis worked

Ambrose can fish again

Ambrose can fish again

In the meantime, Ambrose started percutaneous dialysis treatments at home. Each night, as he slept, fluids flushed the toxins from his body through a surgically implanted catheter. Though the treatment kept him alive and functioning, it was no substitute for a living kidney. Ambrose didn’t have his customary energy. One day, as Ambrose told his boss about his condition, his friend and co-worker, Kim Monroe, overheard and offered to donate her kidney. Ambrose thought she was kidding. But Kim made an appointment to be evaluated as a donor and drove to Barnes-Jewish for an extensive work up. It turned out that Kim’s kidney was a close match for Ambrose.

No white castles allowed

Kim joked that she’d give Ambrose her kidney, only if he promised not feed it White Castle hamburgers. He joked back that he’d treat the kidney with great care, but couldn’t make any guarantees about abstaining from White Castle. That was good enough for Kim.

On Nov. 15, 2005, teasing each other as they rolled toward the operating room, Kim underwent a mini-nephrectomy – a minimally invasive donor procedure developed at Barnes-Jewish, and Ambrose received her healthy kidney. Both were out of the hospital within a week.Now, thanks to the skill of his surgeons, the care of his renal physicians and transplant coordinator and the generosity of his friend and co-worker, Ambrose is reeling in fish on a regular basis.