Back-to-back triple transplant recipients spark friendship at Chicago hospital

University of Chicago Medicine physicians performed the 16th and 17th triple transplant surgeries in the United States within 30 hours of each other in late December, giving two different patients a healthy heart, kidney and liver all at once.

According to the Associated Press, the two patients—29-year-olds Sarah McPharlin and Daru Smith—first met during pre-therapy sessions prior to surgery. They’re now recovering together, sharing walks and giving encouragement when they pass each other in the hallway. Their families plan to get dinner in Chicago once they’re released from the hospital.

“It was so cool to know we would be able to see each other progress together,” McPharlin, an occupational therapist from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, told the AP. “It was really cool to see how Daru was getting up in the hall and I knew eventually, or pretty soon, I would be doing the same.”

Just eight minutes after Smith’s liver transplant was completed Dec. 20, the hospital learned donor organs were available for McPharlin, the AP reported. Each surgery required a 22-person team and some staffers treated both patients, with McPharlin’s operation concluding on Dec. 21.

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