INDIANAPOLIS — A kidney transplant set for Wednesday at an Indianapolis hospital will be “Twittercast” as it unfolds, giving distant observers a chance to follow the surgery in which an ailing man will get a healthy new kidney from a friend, hospital officials said.
Indiana University Health urologist Dr. Chandru Sundaram, who will perform the surgery, said Monday he hopes the Twitter event can inform the public about how being a living donor can save a life. Hospital officials said the “Twittercast” will be the first of its kind in Indiana.
“I think there is a huge pool of people who are wanting a kidney, and who are interested in this,” Sundaram told the Tribune-Star of the Twitter event. “Any amount of education will help. The more people who are exposed to this, it will help.”
Sundaram said he began doing transplant surgeries 10 years ago, and he has had a live telecast to an audience in the past. But Wednesday’s Twitter feed will be a first for him.
He won’t be tweeting the event, others will. The surgeon will be busy removing one of a western Indiana man’s two kidneys and implanting it into a friend of the man who’s suffering from a kidney ailment.
In Wednesday’s surgery, Sundaram will remove a kidney from 33-year-old Colin Newton of Merom during a laparascopic procedure. He’ll make tiny incisions in Netwon’s torso and insert a video camera and instruments that will be used to disconnect blood vessels and tissues from the healthy kidney as the surgeon watches on a monitor.
“It’s like a video game, but I have to win every time!” he told the Tribune-Star.
The kidney’s recipient will be Caleb Johnson, a 31-year-old friend of Newton’s who’s also lives in Merom, a town about 20 miles south of Terre Haute. The men were once co-workers and share the common interests of hunting and fishing.
Both men and their families gathered Monday for a news conference at Indiana University Health Hospital in Indianapolis.
“The real star in this room is Colin,” Sundaram said of the donating once of his kidneys.
Johnson has been off work since November, when he had to leave his job as a manager at a coal gasification plant because of a condition he developed a few years ago called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in which a kidney no longer filters blood correctly.
Johnson has been on dialysis since December and a kidney transplant would allow his life to return to a semblance of normal.
“It’s just an unbelievable gift,” he told The Indianapolis Star.
The surgery could change both men’s lives, but the Twitter part may prove to be just a blip for them.
Johnson originally joined Twitter to follow IU basketball player Jordan Hulls. He’s been making an attempt to tweet more often, but Newton has yet to post a single tweet.