In 2011, six-year-old Omari Chatman and his father were driving from their home in Midfield to Children’s of Alabama several times a week in order for Omari to receive hemodialysis at the hospital’s Pediatric Nephrology Division. Omari had been diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome, a condition that can cause high levels of protein to be secreted into urine when the kidneys’ ability to filter blood is damaged.
Doctors at Children’s decided that Omari’s kidney damage was significant enough to place him on the transplant waiting list. The Division of Pediatric Nephrology and the Pediatric Transplant Program at Children's of Alabama, in conjunction with the Division of Transplantation Surgery at UAB, is one of the largest pediatric kidney transplant programs in the country.
“He was placed on the list at the end of 2011 and he received his new kidney on November 4, 2012,” said Omari’s dad, Adrian Custard. Following his transplant, Omari spent over a month at Children’s. He was released just in time to spend Christmas at home with his family.
When Omari began to show signs of rejecting his transplanted kidney, his doctors started him on additional medications and apheresis to help filter the components in his blood that were contributing to the rejection. “They are going to keep giving him apheresis until we turn this around. The doctors and I have talked to Omari. He’s happy to have his new kidney, but he asked me, ‘Why do I still have to come have apheresis?’ I told him that we have to strengthen the kidney. The transplant team told us to give it up to another year and he’ll be where we don’t need to do it,” Custard said.
“The doctors have been straight up with me and they don’t sugar-coat it. If something is going wrong, they tell me to give it a little more time. If there’s a problem, they’re going to give me a call – and they tell me to call them day or night. They do a good job and I appreciate it,” Custard said.