Provider makes big donation

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CINCINNATI - Matt Schuh had never had surgery in his life, but when he finally went under the knife, it was a doozy. 

The 43-year old marketing rep for Cincinnati-based Pro2 Respiratory Services donated a kidney to a childhood friend, Scott Crawford, with kidney disease.

"He calls and tells me his kidneys aren't good and there's a good chance he will need a transplant," said Schuh, who in March marked the one-year anniversary of the transplant. "I knew right then that I was the one that was supposed to do this."

He didn't act on that feeling right away. Crawford's sister originally planned to donate one of her kidneys, but when she was disqualified, Schuh didn't hesitate.

"I called and said, 'What do I need to do?'" he said. 

What followed was a battery of tests ranging from blood work to CT scans. For the actual transplant, Schuh spent two days in the hospital, and another two weeks at home recovering from the surgery. He estimates it took two months before he was back to full strength.

"Right (after the surgery), the donor feels terrible but the recipient feels great," he said. "Scott had 10% kidney function for months, he was tired all the time. He didn't remember how good it feels to have a kidney that functions." 

Working for a home healthcare provider also influenced Schuh's ultimate decision to donate. He sees firsthand how access to health care improves lives.

"We are a real clinical company," he said. "We take care of people and I see, every day, these are people that are getting better."

These days, Schuh says, Crawford is doing "awesome" and his own life is back to normal.

"I live my life like anybody with two kidneys would," said Schuh. "I feel as strong as I did. If you have a chance to donate, and you're sitting on the fence, I say, 'Do it.'"