Saving A Life With Generosity

Almost a week after she donated one of her healthy kidneys, Joyce Roush has become friends with the boy whose life her generosity saved.

Three days after the transplant operation, Christopher Bieniek, 13, thanked Roush for donating an organ to someone she did not know. Bieniek had been on dialysis every day since his kidneys failed last year.

Roush, 45, decided to donate one of her kidneys to anyone who needed it after learning about an innovative and minimally invasive transplant procedure called laproscopic surgery. On Tuesday, she underwent the surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

Roush herself is a nurse who works for an organization that procures organs for people in need. She says that if the new surgery did not exist, she would not have made the decision to donate.

"Knowing I could donate it in a safer, easier way and the condition of the kidney would be just as good as had it been recovered from the typical procedure, knowing for me that it could be done in this way, was really the catalyst for me making the decision," Roush told CBS This Morning Senior Correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

To remove one of her kidneys, a three-inch incision was made below the navel. Two other incisions about an inch long were made, through which the laproscopic equipment was inserted. During the 4 1/2-hour procedure, the kidney was freed from its supporting structures and delivered through the larger incision.

Five days after the procedure, Roush was able to leave the hospital. She is now resting at her home in Ft. Wayne, Ind., feeling "a little tired, a little sore," but still happy with her decision to help Bieniek.

"I can't imagine we'll ever go our separate ways," she says. "What that relationship will become really is in God's hands. I'm open to continuing to interact with his family. I'll be anxious to follow his life and simply have encouraged him to use the gift that he was given to in some way help others and I'll be anxious to see how he does that."

Roush's offer has inspired hundreds of others with healthy organs to call Johns Hopkins and other transplant centers with donation offers. She is not surprised by the outpouring.

"I always believed that there would, indeed, be others once they knew that this was possible, who would make the same gesture of caring that I did," she says.

Roush expects to return to work in about two weeks.

For more information on this story, see Nurse Is Transplant Pioneer.