Children’s Mercy reaches medical milestone

Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 7:44 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Children’s Mercy Hospital has reached a medical milestone: 400 kidney transplants performed.

John Paredes is patient 400 and he has the picture to prove it. In it, you can see the 19-year-old smiling ear to ear as he holds decorated cardboard cut-outs of the number.

“400th I mean I don’t even know how to explain what it feels like,” said Paredes.

400 is just a number to us, but to John it’s so much more.

“In a way, this help made me stronger as a person, in a way it proves that I was able to do this,” said Paredes.

It is strength, proven through the scars he bears. John’s torso tells the story.

“I’ve had this split here for a long time,” said John as he pointed to the middle of his stomach. “That goes into my stomach here,” said John as he pointed to the self-release medication system.

It all started when John was 13.

“I just laid in bed and couldn’t do anything, my stomach started hurting, I was getting nauseous,” said Paredes.

John was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease.

“It was constant doctor’s appointments constant going into the hospital,” recalls Paredes.

The disease came with a multitude of complications.

“It eventually just got worse and worse,” said Paredes.

That’s when John ended up in Kansas City with Dr. Brad Warady at Children’s Mercy.

“John’s been on a very long journey a long and difficult journey,” said Warady.

Warady is a Pediatric Nephrologist, but also Division Director at Children’s Mercy. Warady pushed to put John on a pediatric transplant list.

“He was lucky enough to go on the transplant list and get a kidney five days later,” said Warady.

For almost 40 years, Warady has been helping patients like John. It started in 1984 when he established the Dialysis and Transplantation Program at Children’s Mercy. Two years later, the hospital performed its very first transplant.

“I do remember kidney transplant number one here and as I looked back at the list a couple of days ago, I virtually know all of these kids who have been transplanted,” said Warady.

400 lives saved by Warady and his team.

“You’re going to make me cry. It’s just so amazing the change and the lives of the kids and the families,” said Warady.

The most recent one being John and on Warady’s special day.

“I just happen to be 400. I just happened to get it on Dr. Warady’s birthday, that’s not going to happen let’s be realistic here, I’m not going to win the lottery,” said Paredes.

John jokes, but he won big.

“I don’t know if maybe that’s a sign I was the best thing in his life all along I don’t know,” laughs Paredes.

Warady said the real prize is the smile on John’s face.

“I literally never saw him smile because every time he was here in the hospital it was another medical crisis – and there was nothing to smile about,” said Warady.

John couldn’t be smiling bigger in his 400 picture, but he said it’s about so much more than the special number he holds.

“Knowing how I feel now – I know for a fact those 399 people felt so much better, I feel so much happier for them and myself,” said Paredes.

John and Dr. Warady said the true heroes of the story are the donors, without them lives would have never been saved.

For more information on organ donation, contact the National Kidney Foundation.