New York City Police Officer Praises The Nebraska Medical Center Transplant Program
Omaha, Neb. - Nebraska nurse, Roseann Mastio of Bellevue, wanted to make good on a promise when she told her brother-in-law, a retired New York City street cop, that she would donate her kidney to him.
But there was a caveat. She told Michael Manley, 55, 'You can have my kidney, but it's in Nebraska if you want it.'
In 1992, he lost his left kidney after it was found cancerous. In 1994, he contracted an infection that went undiagnosed, ultimately causing his only remaining kidney to lose function. Last April, Manley was told the only kidney he had left would fail by the end of the summer.
His condition left him fatigued and looking 20 years older. With his only kidney failing, Manley was placed on the national waiting list for a kidney. He was told in New York there's an average three to five year wait. In Nebraska, he was told 14 months was the average.
Manley and his family, wife, Patty, and their three children, had to face hard facts. Of the more than 98,000 people nationwide waiting for an organ, more than 74,000 need a kidney, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
But Manley wasn't even on the list three months when a promise Mastio made more than a decade ago became the silver lining in the family's cloud.
In the early 1990s, when Manley lost his first kidney to cancer, she made a promise to him and her sister, Patty. At the time, Mastio and Patty Manley's mother, was dying of cancer and was being cared for by the Manley's in their New York home. Since Mastio lived in Nebraska, she was unable to be involved in much of the care of her mother. She was grateful and never forgot it. Their mother died in 1991.
"Roseann was so impressed with the help we gave our mother that she told us she would be there for us for what we did for mom," Patty Manley said. "She said if Michael ever needed a kidney, she would donate hers."
Mastio, 56, went through tests at The Nebraska Medical Center to see if she was a match. After initial tests indicated she matched with Manley, she had another test that confirmed the match.
"The decision was really made in 1991, said Mastio, a nurse for Douglas County Health Department. "It was one of those things I felt would just happen. My mom was dying about the time he was losing his first kidney to cancer. My sister and brother-in-law had most of the responsibility of caring for my mother's care."
Though Manley was reluctant to travel to Omaha, which his wife called the "boondocks," on Jan. 8, the Manleys left the city where some of its hospitals are well-known for transplantation. They left their three boys, ages 21, 18 and 14, in the care of relatives.
"Believe it or not, there was a lot of himming and hawing about that," Mastio said. "You know, New Yorkers believe the world revolves around them and stops at the Hudson River. I told him, 'Me and my kidney are staying in Nebraska.'"
Upon their arrival at the medical center, Manley began his battery of evaluations and tests, and met with the transplant team. They also received a tour of the facilities, including the Lied Transplant Center on The Nebraska Medical Center campus, where they stayed.
It was then when the family's opinion of Omaha as the "boondocks" changed.
"He's done a complete 360," Mastio said. "Every part of the process they liked better and better.
Kathleen Caldwell, Mastio's daughter and niece of the Manley's said her uncle is very impressed by the people, the care and facility.
"Before he arrived here, he was like, 'What is the soonest I can get out of there?' Now he's not so sure he wants to go home," said Caldwell, who works at the UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute. "There have been all kinds of really great things about his experience here.
"He was telling me, 'All you have to do is stand in the hall and look confused and people help you.' He also said, you don't have a hospital here, you have a resort.' In many New York City hospitals, you probably wouldn't find a concierge, valet parking and marble floors," she said.
The transplant was performed Jan. 22 by two transplant surgeons at The Nebraska Medical Center; Lucille Wrenshall, M.D., and David Mercer, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Wrenshall removed Mastio's right kidney laparoscopically, and Dr. Mercer, transplanted the kidney into Manley.
Manley's surgery took two-and-a-half hours and Mastio's took four-and-a-half hours.
Manley's wife, Patty, said she noticed an immediate difference in the color of her husband's skin after surgery.
After surgery, they were just down the hall from each other. Mastio went home three days after the transplant and Manley was discharged to the Lied Transplant Center four days later.
Because transplant recipients must periodically have laboratory tests and monitoring to ensure the immunosuppression drugs are working well, Manley will have to make several visits to the hospital at least for the first year after transplantation.
He's no longer hesitant about coming to Omaha. Though he could been seen at a New York hospital, he said he will fly here on his own expense probably three times this year for post-transplant care.
"The hospitality-people are very kind and hospitable," Manley said. "It was something I was not accustomed to. I've been to many hospitals in New York. Here we had 24-hour room service. I've been looking for the swimming pool and sauna. I'm so impressed that I intend to get my follow-up care done here instead of in New York."
He said there are no words to express the gratitude he feels towards his organ donor. Manley joked what Roseann did for him reinforced that he made the right decision in marrying Patty.
"I thought that was above and beyond the call of duty. "For anyone to come forward to give life," Manley said.
In Mastio's four to six week of recovery after the transplant, she said she hasn't been doing a lot, but she has become a organ donor advocate and is making it known. "I've pretty much told everyone and their brother about this to raise awareness," she said. "The process isn't so bad. I was probably one of those people who thought it would be."
Patty joked that because her sister gave her husband a kidney, "She's closer to him now than I am. She is an angel sent from God," she said.Back to Top