Making Waves with Living Kidney Donation at Scripps


Mike Sedgwick knew something was wrong when he was bumped to the front of the line in the emergency room. His ankles were swollen, his head ached and his heart was racing.

That night, after learning his kidneys were failing, he joined thousands of others across the country waiting for a kidney donation.

Sedgwick received dialysis treatments six days a week for more than four years. He devoted himself to his family and to his role as pastor at La Jolla Presbyterian Church, always hoping for the transplant that would save his life.

What happened next was a form of divine intervention. Gary Wasserman learned that Sedgwick — the man his children admired from their youth group — needed a kidney transplant. Wasserman stepped forward to begin the donation process and passed each screening test with flying colors.

“Who better to help than someone who significantly impacts the lives of others, including my own children?” says Wasserman. “I knew it was the right thing to do and never looked back. There’s no better feeling.”

On Sept. 14, 2010, Wasserman and Sedgwick arrived at Scripps Green Hospital for their transplant surgery, led by Scripps physicians Dr. Randolph Schaffer, Dr. Jonathan Fisher, Dr. Christopher Marsh and Dr. James Rice. After the successful surgeries, Sedgwick woke up with a healthy kidney.

“I feel so much better now, it’s like night and day,” says Sedgwick. “I can play with my boys now and go surfing again. This is what makes life so good — spending time with family and friends, doing what you love.”

The Scripps Center for Organ and Cell Transplantation at Scripps Green Hospital is one of Southern California’s premier transplant centers. For more than 20 years, Scripps has provided expert care to people in need of life-saving organ transplants. Scripps performs living kidney and liver transplants.

“A living organ donation does not change the donor’s life expectancy, and the risk of complications is extremely small for the donor,” says Dr. Schaffer. “Most patients resume their normal activities within a couple of weeks.”

Living kidney donation is preferred to receiving an organ from a deceased donor. Living donor organs generally last longer, and there’s no need for a waiting list.

Sedgwick, Wasserman and their Scripps doctors will be honored during pregame ceremonies Sept. 27 at Petco Park.

Scripps has been the official health care provider to the Padres since 1981. To find a Scripps physician, call 1-800-SCRIPPS.