Anthony DeGuilio says he always wanted to save someone's life, but he couldn't figure out how he'd do it. Then, after watching a 60 Minutes report on live organ donors, he realized he could donate one of his kidneys.
"The program highlighted the idea. And so I said to my wife, 'I want to do this.' She thought I was coming up with one of my schemes, as I often do," he told The Early Show's Harry Smith. "I did a bunch of research and found nothing online. So I called New York Presbyterian and we ran from there."
The hospital's living donor program takes individuals who are in need of a kidney who have a relative or friend willing to donate one, but is not a match for the person in need.
"The average waiting time in the U.S. is three years, and in New York it is in excess of five years," says Dr. Lloyd Ratner, director of kidney transplantation at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.
When he made the decision to donate, DeGuilio started a chain of kidney swapping that resulted in saving four lives. And on July 24, the hospital completed its first four-way kidney transplant swap.
"We want to utilize any potential donor," says Radner, "and live donor actually gives better results than deceased donor transplants."
DeGuilio's kidney was a match for Barbara Asofsky, who had been told she may have to wait five years for a transplant. Asofsky's husband, Douglas, was not a match for his wife, but was willing to donate a kidney in return.
Douglas Asofsky's kidney was a match for Alina Binder.
In return for receiving her kidney, Binder's father, Michael, donated a kidney, which was a match for Andrew Novak.
Novak's sister, Laura Nicholson, was not a match for her brother. She, too, was also willing to donate a kidney.
"I was thrilled," she said. "When I found out I wasn't a match for him, I found out about the swap program, and that was great because I was able to help two people."
Laura's kidney was a match for "lucky" Luther Johnson, as she now calls him, who was on a transplant waiting list.
To learn more about the hospital's living donor program, click here.