Texas Health Fort Worth makes history with kidney transplant

Richard Combs received the perfect birthday gift.

The 69-year-old Fort Worth resident has been on the waiting list at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth for a new kidney since February.

He got the call at 2 p.m. on his birthday notifying him to prepare for kidney transplant surgery.

“My family laughed and joked about what a nice gift it would be if I got a kidney on my birthday,” he said. “They were so happy when it happened.”

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Texas Health Fort Worth staff and clinicians are celebrating right alongside Combs. His kidney transplant procedure marks the 1,000th performed by the program, which began in 1986 when Dr. Robert Sloane completed the first transplant. Dr. Tariq Khan, surgical director of the program, performed Combs’ procedure

“What an honor to celebrate Mr. Combs and play a role in giving him the precious gift of life for his birthday,” said Lillie Biggins, hospital president. “I hope this enables him to spend many more years with his three kids and seven grandchildren. This is an exciting milestone for Texas Health Fort Worth, the kidney transplant team and the community we serve.”

More than 101,000 people in the U.S. are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Less than 17,000 people receive one each year.

“From the transplant coordinators to the surgical team and the ICU nurses, I’m very pleased with my care at Texas Health Fort Worth,” said Combs. “This surgery is a blessing.”