September 2014 Meeting
Our special guest speaker for the September 10, 2014 was Frank S. Darras, M.D. Medical Director, Transplantation Services-Stony Brook University Medical Center (SBUMC).
Dr. Darras took the time to answer so many questions from an interested audience; our members and friends who engaged in fascinating discourse with Dr. Darras, Carrie Comellas (Administrator of Transplant Program), and long time friend of LI TRIO, Steve Knapik (Senior Living Donor coordinator Of Program).
Dr. Frank S. Darras is a renal transplant surgeon at Stony Brook University Medical Center, and describes his profession in general and his job in particular as the best job in the world with the worst hours in the world. Dr. Darras cares about his patients who are living kidney donors and renal transplant recipients and his philosophy is based on treating all of them as he would treat his favorite family members.
Dr. Darras is an expert and has an incredible amount of experience performing the Hand Assisted Laparoscopic technique which is a less invasive way to donate a kidney to a loved one, friend, acquaintance or family member.
With living donor laparoscopy, instruments can be inserted through small puncture sites on the abdomen to dissect and free up the kidney and its blood supply and urinary drainage so that it can be removed through a small incision. The kidney is taken immediately to the adjacent operating room where it is successfully transplanted. With the smaller incision, pain is decreased, hospitalization is reduced to 2-3 days, and full recovery with return to work is faster (2-3 weeks instead of 4-6 weeks on the average).
Dr Darras had his fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh, PA.
Dr. Darras was privileged to work with and study under Thomas E. Starzl, MD, PhD who is widely known as “The Father Of Transplantation”. Dr. Darras worked with Dr.Starzl during the last few years before Dr.Starzl’s retirement from clinical service. Together, they learned and tracked better ways to control organ rejection and developed further study of kidney and liver disease processes. The next step was to begin to understand tolerance and also to consider the protocol of Tacrolimus without steroids. Incidentally, it was at Presbyterian University Hospital (now UPMC Presbyterian) that he announced the first documented use of a more effective anti-rejection agent FK506 also known as Tacrolimus. Dr. Darras often quotes Dr.Starzl and his personality and expertise is all original.
We always enjoy Dr. Darras’ spontaneous, knowledgeable and helpful answers to all of the questions posed by attendees after his presentation.
Last year we posted this story on our Transplant FaceBook group:
Dr. Darras- Stony Brook Transplant Doc Performs Life-Saving Kidney Transplant
Man donates kidney to save a friend.
By Christine Sampson
A pair of childhood friends at Bay Shore Middle School in the 1970s found each other on Facebook and kept in touch – a connection that has led to a lifesaving kidney transplant, Stony Brook University Hospital announced this week.
Lenore Bzdyk and Dan Sullivan both have families of their own in Bay Shore, and now, another special connection: After learning of Lenore’s husband Karl’s impending kidney failure due to type I diabetes, Sullivan, 48, donated a kidney to save Karl’s life.
“He’s a superhero and a great friend,” Lenore Bzdyk said of Sullivan. “He’s just truly amazing. He’s one of a kind.”
Doctors at Stony Brook University Hospital performed the life saving surgery on Jan. 7. Dr. Frank S. Darras, medical director of transplantation services for the Department of Urology and a professor at the school of medicine, performed the laparoscopic donor surgery. Dr. Wayne Waltzer, a professor, chairman of the Department of Urology and director of Kidney Transplantation Services, performed the transplant surgery.
“I feel great,” Karl Bzdyk, 49, said from his hospital bed on Jan. 10. “It’s a new life…. It’s a new year. It’s a great new year.”
“I got the gift of life,” he added. “Danny is the hero.”