Thomas DePalma had already been through a lot when he arrived at BIDMC's Transplant Institute. At 79, he had survived a coronary artery bypass, pancreatic cancer and the removal of his pancreas. Thomas had been on dialysis for three years and was hoping to undergo a kidney transplant. It wouldn't be easy convincing his transplant team that he was healthy enough for the operation.
"Mr. DePalma was high risk, but one of our strengths here is that we can, in some cases, offer patients with complex clinical issues and challenges a chance for transplant with excellent outcomes and prognoses," says BIDMC nephrologist Dr. Didier Mandelbrot. "Thomas exercised regularly and had no active heart disease," adds Mandlebrot, who urged and convinced colleagues that Thomas' motivation, determination and youthful outlook on life would make him a suitable candidate.
The transplant was approved and Thomas was out of the hospital in just over a week. Doctors say his meticulous ability to keep track of his medications and show up for all his follow-up appointments and lab work, have helped him to recover quickly. By summertime DePalma, an avid golfer, was practicing his swing again.