September 21, 2012

Len Sandok is now healthy enough to receive a kidney transplant

Class of 1963

After about four full days of testing, approximately 35 vials of blood, and a wait of four months, I have finally been officially found to be healthy enough to receive a kidney transplant, and sick enough to need one.

Ellen, my wife, and the boys (Craig and Scott) will be tested to see if they are compatible with my chemistry. If they are, I will have the transfer this winter, and will hopefully be back to full strength by early summer.
If they are not compatible with my chemistry, but are healthy enough to donate, Mayo Clinic has a program where they pair donors in similar situations, and can perform a multiple transfer on the same day.

If, for example, Ellen’s kidney is not compatible with mine, but would be a good fit for someone else, and that other person has a kidney donor that fits my needs, they do a four-person swap. They have gone to as many as four donors to satisfy everyone. That is eight people in the operating rooms at the same time.

Failing that, I am on a list to receive a donation from a deceased person. That is about four years out because I am not yet on dialysis, and there are people ahead of me on the list. This would mean a few years of dialysis, and hopefully, I would still be healthy enough to receive a kidney at that time.

The interesting thing about being on the list is that they will call and wait only one hour to contact me. If I do not respond in one hour, the kidney will go to the next person on the list. I would have a maximum of 12 hours to get to the hospital.
I am both excited, and a little bit scared, about this “adventure”.


Len was at Mayo in 1998 when he had a quadruple bypass.  He graduated from Rider University (New Jersey) and lives in Bloomington, Minn.  His brother was a Mayo physician for 35 years.  He was the head of Neurology and the Dean of the Mayo Medical School who was already in college when the Sandoks moved to Levittown in 1956.


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