Two months after surgeons halted his son-to-father kidney transplant on Valentine’s Day, Alan Chapman finds himself trying to cope once again with being told he can’t have the surgery.
This time, the University of Kansas Health System turned down his return to the operating room because it’s too high risk, Chapman said.
“I’m heartbroken,” said Chapman, a Kansas City, North, resident who has endured three years of dialysis treatments. “I was so close.”
He recently started the medical records transfer process so that he can obtain a second opinion from Research Medical Center. Meanwhile, his son Tyler Chapman remains committed to giving his dad one of his healthy kidneys.
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Alan Chapman first began seeking a new kidney after diabetes, which he developed as a child, shut down his kidneys in 2014. Roadblocks repeatedly have delayed or derailed his hopes.
First, medical tests conducted before he could be put on the transplant waiting list uncovered blocked heart arteries. So he had quintuple bypass surgery.
Then a colonoscopy revealed he had a tumor the size of three golf balls. Surgeons removed it along with part of Chapman’s colon.
Months later, he suffered a stroke and spent 40 days in the hospital.
Finally, after Tyler volunteered to give up a kidney and tests revealed father and son were a good match, the Chapmans thought their bad medical luck had turned around.
KU Hospital and the Chapmans agreed to Feb. 14 transplant operations. That morning, surgeons opened Tyler Chapman and prepped his kidney for removal.
In an adjacent operating room, an anesthesiologist trying to put a breathing tube down Alan Chapman’s throat found the area below his vocal cords too narrow. Instead of an opening about the size of a quarter, his resembled a fast-food drinking straw.
Since then, Alan Chapman had endured two throat surgeries to widen his constricted windpipe. His ear, nose and throat doctor gave him a green light for the kidney transplant and offered to be in the operating room with him, Chapman told The Star this week.
But in a telephone call days before Easter, Chapman’s KU Health System transplant coordinator delivered more bad news: He had become too high-risk for surgery, she said.
A letter later arrived in the mail. It said the same thing, Chapman said.
Asked this week about the situation, KU Health System transplant director Timothy Schmitt provided The Star a written statement:
“The selection Committee met and had a very long discussion about our patient, Alan Chapman, and whether he is healthy enough to undergo a kidney transplant,” it said. “We re-reviewed his social history, medical history and recent events with every hope of transplanting him. After much discussion, the current status of his chronic medical conditions puts him and the donor kidney at too high of a risk for a catastrophic event.
“It was not an easy decision. Our goal is to transplant every patient possible. We recommended things Mr. Chapman can do that may decrease his risk from his associated medical comorbidities and did encourage him to seek a second opinion at another transplant center.”
Alan Chapman told The Star that nothing about his health has changed, other than the fact he’s had two more surgeries.
He said he’s frustrated that he followed doctor instructions to have the throat surgeries but was denied what he sees as the more important surgery — the transplant that could extend his life.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “I’m just really disappointed.”
A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the family. Click here to see it.