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Stories & Snapshots

One Kidney Donation = Five Lives Saved

A non-directed organ donated by Epic staff member Adam Allison started a chain that helped five people in need of a kidney

Epic staff member Adam Allison was one of the 28 people in 2019 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, who gave kidneys to people they didn’t know. UW Hospital uses Phoenix, Epic’s specialty application designed for transplant surgeries. Adam’s surgery was one of over 20,800 procedures documented in Phoenix across the Epic community in 2019. UW had one of the highest numbers of non-directed kidney donors in the country last year.

Adam first learned about non-directed donors—people who donate organs to people they don’t know—on a podcast. He started to do his research and consider whether he might be a good candidate.

“The more I thought about it, the more the question became, ‘Why not?’” Adam said. “I always thought that the kind of person who donates an organ is an angel or a super-human, but then I realized that it’s just regular people like me.”

Adam was the first donor in a chain coordinated by the National Kidney Registry. Often, people want to give an organ to a loved one, but they’re incompatible. Instead, non-directed donors give their organ to someone they don’t know, and the recipient’s loved one also donates their organ, creating a chain so all recipients receive the organ they need. In order for the chain to work, one person, like Adam, needs to donate an organ without needing one for a loved one in return. Adam’s kidney started a chain that resulted in five people receiving a new kidney.

“The impact that this had for the people who were waiting for new a kidney is overwhelming,” Adam said. “Our customers do this kind of life-saving work every day. This felt like a small way that I could help.”

To learn more about Adam’s story and other donors at UW Hospital, read the full story in the Wisconsin State Journal.