Arthur J. Easton went through dialysis for eight years. Three times a week, five hours a day, for eight years.

In 2014, Easton was diagnosed with kidney failure and was told he was carrying more than 70 pounds of excess fluid in his legs. He thought he weighed more than 400 pounds naturally, but no, it was the fluid build-up due to kidney failure.

“That’s 20 hours a week that I had to give away but it saved my life,” Easton said. “Through the hurt, the pain, I never gave up.”

Easton underwent his dialysis treatment at Medical City Fort Worth, 900 8th Ave. One day in December 2022, Dr. Sridhar Allam, a transplant nephrology staff member, gave Easton the good news — he had been added to an in-need donor list. By March 2023, he received a kidney and had a successful transplant.

“To the young lady who lost her life to give me life, I’m so overwhelmed emotionally. I think I cry every single day,” Easton said. “Thank you.”

Medical City Healthcare’s kidney transplant programs in Dallas and Fort Worth are recognized for having “the shortest kidney transplant wait times in North Texas for deceased donors,” according to a news release.

Allam attributed the short wait times to smart kidney matching and prioritaztion of patients.

The program was founded in 2012, one year after the arrival of Allam. Since then, 60% of the hospital‘s patients receive kidneys within a year of being on the list. The national average for patients who receive a kidney within a year is about 20-25% — the national wait time for a kidney in 2017 was 679 days. Medical City Fort Worth is at least two to three times faster than the national average, Allam said.

Allam said Medical City Fort Worth’s three-year-post-transplant rate is about 95%. The surgeons perform about 120 transplants per year. In the program’s first year they performed two, he said.

Medical City Fort Worth raised its “donations save lives” flag on April 12 to celebrate Organ Donor Appreciation Month and to raise awareness for the need for donors. About 20% of donors are living donors, or people who willingly donate a kidney to a loved one or even a stranger.

Dr. Sridhar Allam, a transplant nephrology staff member at Medical City Fort Worth, listens to speakers on April 12. Allam began working at Medical City Fort Worth in 2011 — one year later, the kidney transplant program was founded. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

The rest of donors are deceased registered donors, Allam said. In Texas, 14 million people registered to be organ donors. One organ donor can save up to eight lives.

There are currently more than 100,000 patients waiting for kidneys nationwide — more than 11,000 in Texas.

“There are some calculated risks that we take that help our patients get off dialysis. You know, it is not only very debilitating to go through dialysis, but also people don’t realize being on dialysis is almost like having stage three colon cancer,” Allam said. “The sooner you get the patient out of dialysis, the better.”

Easton credits Medical City Fort Worth with saving his life. Through efficient organ matching to supportive staff, Easton was able to receive his kidney transplant within six months of being placed on the list.

“I never stopped believing in the miracle and power of healing. I can’t thank one person. I have to thank each and every caretaker on this team, from pre-transplant to post-transplant, and everyone in between,” Easton said. “What an incredible journey.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSotoCommunity Engagement Journalist

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...