Two-Year-Old Matthew Ouimet Gets New Kidney, Liver at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

By Juliana Bunim

Kelly and Kristi Ouimet share a moment with their son Matthew shortly after his June 5 liver and kidney transplant surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

After waiting more than a year for a kidney and liver transplant, 2-year-old Matthew Ouimet now has his two new organs after surgery at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Matthew suffers from primary hyperoxaluria Type 1, a liver disease that also affects the kidneys and can affect other organs if untreated.


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For the last year and a half, his mom Kristi has woken up at 4 a.m. – five days each week – to take Matthew from their home in Antioch, Calif., to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, where he received four hours of dialysis treatment before they made the long trek back home. Once home, the treatments continued as Kristi would give Matthew peritoneal dialysis to stretch his abdomen to make room for new, larger organs.

On Tuesday night, Kristi kissed Matthew and held his hand until he was fully sedated in the operating room. John Roberts, MD, chief of transplant surgery at UCSF, and Peter Stock, MD, PhD, surgical director of the pediatric renal transplant program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, spent almost 13 hours in surgery transplanting Matthew’s organs, which came from a deceased donor.

Finally, the 43-mile trip from Antioch to San Francisco for dialysis will be a thing of the past.

"Matthew's conditions have improved since this morning," Roberts said Wednesday afternoon. "It's quite normal for new organs to take time to 'wake up' in a new patient, especially when the recipient is as young as Matthew. In the next 24 to 48 hours, we are looking to see how the new liver and kidney are functioning.  We will continue monitoring Matthew's laboratory results for infection and any toxicity issues."

Kristi Ouimet expressed relief after the surgery and said she and her family “are eternally grateful to the entire staff at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, especially Dr. Roberts and Dr. Stock. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the selfless act of the donor. We have been given the gift of Matthew’s life, and we will make sure he lives in a way that honors the legacy of Matthew’s donor.”

Matthew’s story has been chronicled and photographed by the Contra Costa Times.

Photo by Leland Kim