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Laredo doctor and transplant patients raising awareness about organ donation

In the spring of 2021, Gerardo Rios Sr.’s kidney disease was advancing rapidly. The 67-year old Laredo retiree had spent years on a transplant waiting list, hoping for an organ from a deceased donor. Without it, he would have to begin dialysis very soon.

Rios’ family knew dialysis would mean many hours of treatment, numerous times a week, and a survival rate much lower than that of a patient who received a kidney transplant.

However, there was another option – a donated kidney from a healthy adult whose blood and tissue matched those of Rios. It was an option the sick man’s son wanted to pursue.

“I would do anything for my dad,” said Gerardo Rios Jr., a 21-year old college student studying criminal justice. The son did not want to watch his father wait many more years for a deceased person’s kidney. He understood that his father’s quality of life would be much better with a living donor organ, his health would cease to decline and the son would be able to live a full life with just one kidney.

A recommendation from nephrologist Dr. Grace McNutt in Laredo, and testing through the University Health Transplant Institute in San Antonio, showed Gerardo Jr. was indeed a match for donating to his father. So, on April 21, 2021, University Health surgeons transplanted one of the son’s kidneys into his ailing father, who is now healthier and looking forward to many more years with his family.

This Thursday, July 8, the father, son and their Laredo doctor will be available to share their story with the media, and encourage others in the Webb County area to save lives by becoming living organ donors.

“I want to tell our story because everybody should have a second chance at life,” says Gerardo Rios Jr.

 When:  Media availability Thursday, July 8, from 10 a.m. - Noon. To schedule one-on-one interviews contact University Health’s Shelley Kofler by 8 a.m. Thursday morning at 512-294-5224 or
 Who:  Laredo patients Gerardo Rios Sr., Gerardo Rios Jr., and Dr. Grace McNutt, a Laredo nephrologist. Photos of the patients at University Hospital’s transplant center are attached.
 Where:  The Laredo Medical Center, LMC, at 1700 E. Saunders, Laredo. Please park in the Tower B parking area, then go to the Marketing Department in Tower B- 1st floor. They will direct you to the interview location. Priscilla Salinas, director of marketing & business development at LMC, is available to help with logistics. She can be reached at (956) 796-3223.

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