Kidney transplant smooth for local boy, donor

July 20, 2018 GMT

4-year-old Henry Whitacre celebrated his birthday Wednesday by having a successful kidney transplant at Riley Children’s Hospital.

The surgery was performed by IU Health transplant surgeon Dr. William Goggins, who has 2,000 kidney transplants under his belt.

The kidney was donated by Colleen Carnes, an old friend of Henry’s mother, Emily Jones.

With procedures starting around 11 a.m., Carnes’ surgery lasted around three hours and Henry’s around five hours, Goggins said. By 4:50 p.m., Henry, who is from Fort Wayne, had a functioning kidney.

Henry was born with a condition called posterior urethral valve, an obstructive anomaly that happens in utero, affecting about 1 in 8,000 boys, said Suzie Hedrick, a dialysis nurse at Riley.

With the condition, a bladder obstruction is caused by extra tissue that has grown inside the urethra, which causes the damage to kidneys.

Goggins said both surgeries went smoothly, without any issues. He had expected Henry’s surgery to pose some challenges, because of Henry’s size and his numerous previous operations.

“Going into it, I know that it’s going to be a challenging surgery, so you just have to take your time with it and just know that it’s going to be difficult,” Goggins said. “But really, it went a lot smoother than I thought it might go.”

Goggins stopped by Carnes’ hospital room this morning to tell her about Henry’s surgery, and he said she looked great.

Henry spent the last two days in the pediatric center intensive care unit, where all children go after a transplant surgery. Goggins said he may come out of the unit today, which is quick considering his size.

“Henry’s life will be completely different to anything he’s ever known. He will have normal physiology,” Goggins said. “He’s a remarkable little dude. He’s got a smile that lights up the room.”