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Innovation: Doctors are learning to re-gift donated kidneys, giving patients a new lease on life

Vertis Boyce of Las Vegas got a new lease on life when she received a re-gifted kidney last July. There are reportedly only about 50 people around the world who have received re-gifted kidneys. (Image source: Video screenshot)

Most people frown on re-gifting, but a Las Vegas woman is thankful for her twice-gifted organ that gave her a second lease on life, KCBS reported.

Last July, Vertis Boyce received a kidney transplant. Her donor was a past kidney donor-recipient who died.

What's the story?

At 60, Boyce's kidneys failed. She spent a decade on dialysis and had resigned herself to never receiving a transplant. After all, she was one of about 95,000 people on the waiting list.

“I had given up hope. I had accepted the dilemma I was in,” Boyce said. “I felt that I would not get a kidney.”

About 10 months ago, everything changed when she got a call from her doctor at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in California about a possible match.

“He was telling me there was a possibility that I could receive this transplant. But he said there's a backstory,” Boyce said.

Dr. Jeffrey Veale said they found her a kidney, but it already been donated once before.

"The donated kidney that was a match came from a man who had received a kidney transplant himself from a 17-year-old girl," Boyce said.

That meant that the kidney would have been through two death events, two times on ice, and two transplants, Veale explained to KCBS.

“I’m thinking, 'Oh, you can do that?'” Boyce remembered.

Veale has performed three successful re-gift kidney transplants over the last year as part of the innovative program at UCLA.

Additionally, there are only about 50 people around the world who have received re-gifted kidneys, according to Veale.

The doctor said Boyce's re-gifted organ is performing as well as someone with two kidneys.

“Her kidney is crushing it,” Veale said.

What else?

Boyce, who will celebrate her one-year transplant anniversary on July 12, said she looks forward to being there for her granddaughter as she grows up.

“You know how we hate re-gifts — presents — but this is the best re-gift you could ever receive,” Boyce said. “A second chance at life — it’s just amazing."

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