The gift of life! - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Daughter gives father the gift of life

Sarah Purves Sarah Purves
Tom Bihn Tom Bihn

By Dan Wells – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – Time is of the essence for Tom Bihn. The Dayton area native now has a new kidney thanks to his daughter.

"I think the waiting is the hard part...and of course the nerves knowing that I'm going to do this," said Sarah Purves, Bihn's daughter.

The family began the journey of renewed life at University Hospital earlier this month.

"The donor operation will start around eight o'clock, the recipients operation around ten o'clock and were usually done about two o'clock in the afternoon," said Dr. Steve Woodle, M.D.

Dr. Woodle, the chief of transplant surgery at U.C. explained the family's back-story.

"He (Tom) has renal failure, the exact cause is unknown, he had had a previous transplant in the past and has lost that and now need another transplant," said Dr. Woodle.

Doctor Amit Tevar M.D., an assistant professor of surgery, is in charge of the donor, Sarah. 

"The goal of this operation is to take a healthy person let them offer a gift of a kidney to a loved one or a friend and let them get back to 100 percent," said Dr. Tevar.

As the clock ticks, the father/daughter kidney transplant team face every fear in the world with a lot of courage.

"My dad needs it...I was tested and was a good match and it really wasn't a hard decision as long as my family was ok…it was OK," said Sarah.

"As far as my daughter, it's special that she is doing this for me," said Tom.

The transplant team told us this operation was the vital and timely key to Tom's survival.

"She is preventing him from succumbing to his disease in a very short period of time," said Tevar.

"Statistically, the odds are this transplant should last him the rest of his life expectancy," said Dr. Woodle.  

In 2009 alone the folks here at University Hospital preformed 78 kidney transplants. That's almost a doubling in the number of kidney transplants performed from a decade ago.

"We generally on average do about two or three a week," said Dr. Tevar.

University Hospital's kidney transplant program outpaces regional and national results on transplant survival rates, organ acceptance and wait-list times - all things Tom and his daughter Sarah were banking on.

"You normally feel pretty good instantly after the surgery and it takes about 6 to 8 weeks to get back on your feet and probably up to a year to feel up to a year to feel 100 percent," said Tom.

Tom and Sarah are doing after surgery and the "gift of life" in this case was truly a journey this family will never forget.

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