Coronavirus likely to setback many other medical surgeries

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Transplant patients are at a higher risk of getting sick during the coronavirus pandemic. In some cases, the transplant is postponed, which will likely be the case for Michael McBride.

Michael and Kris McBride have been married for 25 years.

When Michael had a stroke and needed a kidney years later, Kris was ready to be his donor.

"It was pretty much a miracle that I was a match to begin with," said Kris.

He was added to the transplant list in 2018, and he met with his doctor before the surgery.

"We thought it was just another step along the way, and instead they found that he had blockage and needed a triple bypass immediately. He never even got to go home. He had a widow maker," said Kris.

The visit may have saved his life.

Still, because of the triple bypass the transplant was postponed.

So, they got ready for a new date, and this time, Kris went to see her physician.

"We were slated again for the summer of '19. We were three weeks away from transplant when, at that time, we found as part of my pre-op, we found that I had breast cancer," said Kris.

Fortunately, her cancer was caught early and she recovered so a new date was set for May 2020.

Then the coronavirus hit.

That's leading to yet another postponement. Dr. Osama Gaber, the director of J.C. Walter Jr. Transplant Center at Houston Methodist, said transplant surgery can put both the patient and the living donor at risk.

"Once we transplant them, we increase the risk of having infection because we treat them with medications that lower their immune system's ability to fight the organ, which also would result to the infection having an easier path into their system," said Gaber.

They've beat cancer, a triple bypass and now they're tackling this together, too.

"Every part of the way, although it's been a setback, it's also been a miracle for us," said Michael.

April is National Donate Life month. Kris hopes this raises awareness about the importance of becoming a donor.

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