SALT LAKE CITY — A Bountiful woman who was scheduled to undergo kidney transplant surgery Tuesday had her hopes dashed when she found out her donor was no longer a match.
"My heart just dropped. I froze. I was in kind of a state of shock," said Kalynn Olsen, who has Type 1 Diabetes.
Olsen received a call from University of Utah Medical Center telling her the bad news shortly before she and a donor were scheduled to undergo surgery.
"You just try and soak it in and move on," Olsen said.
Doctors believe a rare abnormality made the donor who had previously been proven a match no longer a candidate to help Olsen.
John Sorensen, chief of transplant surgery at the University of Utah, said a final blood test showed Olsen's blood would have rejected Hansen's tissue.
"I would say it happens less than five percent of the time. But it happens enough that we repeat the test right before the transplant so we can prevent that organ from being rejected," he said. "Things can change. People can get exposed to an antigen, like a cold."
The Bountiful woman who came forward to donate her kidney to Olsen sees the situation as a blessing.
"The great news is there is always a solution," said Heather Hansen, an acquaintance of Olsen. "I will still give my kidney and we'll cross match with somebody who's the perfect match for me. In turn, they will swap and be the perfect match for her."
Sorensen said finding matching donor pairs has been successful in the past in situations where one donor is incompatible to a recipient.
"The paired exchange program allows them to put their names on a national registry," he said. "They are then tested against any donor recipient pairs across the country."6 comments on this story
Because of the paired exchange program, Hansen believes her donation could have a far reaching effect rather than simply helping one person. She can now help two.
"It's a blessing in disguise," Hansen said. "There's going to be somebody sitting at home and the phone is going to ring and they're going to say, 'Guess what? We've got a kidney for you.' It's an absolute double blessing."
For Olsen though, Hansen is her blessing considering the two barely knew one another.
"She's so amazing," Olsen said.