South Florida Dad Undergoes Second Kidney Transplant – This Time Donor is his 28-year-old Daughter
Patrick Bachelier, 62, loves to laugh, joke, and spend time with his family including his three children and grandkids. But his life was put on hold five years ago after suffering from progressive high blood pressure led to end stage renal failure.
Bachelier was a private chef for 14 years, tirelessly cooking extensive French and Spanish meals. His work led him to travel often to the Bahamas and Europe, where he cooked for Spanish royalty.
His health had never been an issue, but in 2013 he began showing symptoms of extreme fatigue, jaundice, and high blood pressure. His primary physician urged him to go to the nearest emergency room. He was referred to a nephrologist and was diagnosed end stage renal failure.
“It’s a very slow and sneaky disease,” said Patrick. “I was shocked especially since I had never been sick and thought that I was feeling fatigue due to work stress – it changed my life 360 degrees.”
He started dialysis – three times a week, four hours each session – and was placed on the national transplant waiting list.
Overcome with fear and worry, the Bachelier family sought a second opinion at the Miami Transplant Institute (MTI), a unique affiliation between Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System at Jackson Memorial Medical Center. There, they met with UHealth nephrologists Warren L. Kupin, MD, and Giselle Guerra, MD, director of the Living Donor Kidney Program.
“Each year we are able to give the gift of life by transplanting close to 100 recipients with living donor kidneys,” said Dr. Guerra. “Each individual who becomes a donor not only saves their loved one through the act of donation but indirectly helps all those recipients waiting countless years for a kidney transplant.”
The MTI team determined that Bachelier’s kidneys were functioning between 9 and 13 percent. He desperately needed a kidney transplant in order to survive. His sister in France was tested to see if she was a match. She was a blood match and would go on to donate a kidney to her brother in August 2014 at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
But over time, Bachelier’s kidney function again progressively declined. MTI physicians determined that he would need a second kidney transplant.
This time, his 28-year-old daughter, Jacqueline Bachelier, volunteered – and she turned out to be the perfect match, which she considered a sign from God that she was making the right decision.
“I felt overwhelmed at first because I had to juggle my own life as a mother to a 5-year-old and I was working,” said Jacqueline. “But when I saw his health declining, I didn’t want to let him down – I knew he didn’t have much time.”
On May 29, 2018, father and daughter were wheeled into the operating room at Jackson Memorial. The five-hour surgery was led by transplant surgeon Rodrigo Vianna, MD, director of the Miami Transplant Institute and chief of liver, intestinal, and multivisceral transplant, and George W. Burke III, MD, FACS, kidney transplant surgeon. Bachelier’s new kidney started working immediately.
“Usually the parent sacrifices for their child, not the other way around,” said Patrick. “But my daughter and I share a special bond – I knew whatever she would do, she would do out of love.”
“When I finally got to see my dad he looked healthy and there were lots of tears and hugs,” recalls Jacqueline. “He kept telling me how I had saved his life with what he called my golden kidney.”
According to Donate Life America, 80 percent of patients on the list are waiting for a kidney. However, it is a kidney from a living donor that offers patients the best alternative solution. MTI is the only center in South Florida that performs all organ transplants for both adult and pediatric patients and it is one of the most comprehensive programs and the third largest in the nation.
On Friday, June 15 – just two days before Father’s Day – Patrick and Jacqueline shared their emotional journey during a press conference at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“People say I love you but this act of love my daughter gave me, you cannot measure it,” said Patrick. “I didn’t know my children loved me this much.”