Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 6

ROUNDS / INNOVATION

50 years, one kidney
This hospital reunited its first pediatric kidney transplant
patient with his childhood nephrologist.
BY OWEN LEI

Left to right:
Richard Fine, M.D.,
Gemma Lafontant
and Thomas Hoag

I

n February 1967, 6-year-old Tommy
Hoag became the first Children's
Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) patient
to undergo a kidney transplant. A
bout with scarlet fever left Tommy's
kidneys with glomerulonephritis, a
disease that damages their ability
to filter waste and fluids from the
blood. A team of doctors treating
Hoag, including then-CHLA pediatric
nephrologist Richard Fine, M.D., concluded the only way to save the boy's
life was a renal transplant.
The procedure was only a few years
old at the time, most often done between twins and rarely suggested for
children. But blood and tissue tests
showed that Tommy's father was a
great match, and doctors were optimistic. "I remember being wheeled
into the operating room, and my father
was already there and happy to see
me," says Hoag, who is now 56 and lives
in Las Vegas. "My dad was a die-hard
baseball and Babe Ruth fan. When he

6

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S TODAY Fall 2017

saw me, he said, 'Come on in, Bambino!
Let's get this done!'"
Just as Babe Ruth made his mark on
history, Hoag's successful transplant
has the distinction of holding one of
CHLA's most notable records-his
father's gift of life has now lasted 50
years and counting. Hoag's kidney is, if
not the longest, one of the longest functioning live donor kidneys to a child in
U.S. history. Doctors say it's rare for a
donor kidney to last so long.
"The success of Tommy's transplant jump-started the Nephrology
program at the hospital," says Carl
Grushkin, M.D., CHLA's current chief of
Nephrology, who happened to be a resident in 1967 when Hoag's surgery took
place. "We have performed nearly 1,100
kidney transplants since Tommy's."
This spring, Hoag and Fine reunited
at the hospital for a ceremony to mark
the 50th anniversary of Hoag's transplant. Not only was Fine the one who diagnosed Hoag with kidney failure and

glomerulonephritis, he was the driving
force in starting the Dialysis Program
at CHLA the same year. This program
continues to be one of the two largest
pediatric dialysis programs in the U.S.
"Seeing Tommy and how well he's
done for such a long time is one of the
highlights of my career," says Fine, who
is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at
the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Fine says medical literature in the
1960s discouraged pediatric dialysis
and renal transplantation, but he believed it was the only option that could
save the boy's life. "We had no idea 50
years ago that we could accomplish
having someone survive with one kidney for 50 years."
After the ceremony, Hoag chatted
with Gemma Lafontant, 14, of Burbank,
California, who at the time was CHLA's
most recent kidney transplant patient.
Gemma has chronic kidney disease
and received a pre-emptive donor kidney in February. "It's amazing that his
kidney's lasted 50 years," Gemma said.
"That could be me."
Hoag, who spent six months recuperating in the hospital after his procedure, found it remarkable that Gemma
was able to go home in less than two
weeks. "Every now and then I get asked
about being a 'pioneer,'" Hoag says. "It's
not something I tried to set a record for;
it's just something that was meant to
be. And it's worked out well for me and
so many others."
Owen Lei is a senior public information
officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
Share a story from your hospital. Email
magazine@childrenshospitals.org.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017

Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 2
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 3
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 4
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 5
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 6
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 7
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 8
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 9
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 10
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 11
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 12
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 13
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 14
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 15
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 16
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 17
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 18
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 19
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 20
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 21
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 22
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 23
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 24
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 25
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 26
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 27
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 28
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 29
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 30
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 31
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - 32
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Children's Hospitals Today - Fall 2017 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_spring_2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_winter_2022
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_fall_2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2018spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2018winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2017fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2017summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2017spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2017winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2016fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2016summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2016spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2016winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2015fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2015summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2015spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2015winter
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2014fall
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2014summer
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2014spring
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/cha/cht_2014winter
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com