MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Stanley Kaplan, a well-known tax attorney in Miami, had an important to make a decision. Kaplan’s doctors told him his left kidney was failing after a fight with uric acid kidney stones seven years ago–the choice was between dialysis or a transplant. “I thought that if the good Lord wants to take me, I’m here, but I wasn’t not going to go through that torture,” said Stanley. Instead, he got on the transplant list where the normal wait time could be more than three years.
Sandee Kaplan, Stanley’s wife of 44 years, was worried about her 77-year-old husband’s ailing health. “He was going down hill fast,” she said. Sandee was willing to do anything to get him pushed higher up on the transplant list, even willing to donate her own kidney to a perfect stranger so that her husband could get one faster. “So I thought, well, this is what we’ll have to do.” After two months of testing, doctors told Sandee that she could give her own kidney to her own husband. “They finally called us and said you’re a match, we were like so excited and happy!” Turns out, Sandee’s blood type is O-postivie, which makes her a viable donor candidate. “Doctors told us we share one gene, it’s amazing, it’s a miracle,” said Stanley. During the operation, which took place on March 25th, Stanley’s failing kidney was not removed. Instead, his wife’s perfectly-functioning kidney was implanted. “They didn’t take any of my kidneys out, so, right now, I have 3 kidneys. I thought that was rather interesting,” Stanley said with a smile. Doctors with the Transplant Program at Jackson Memorial Hospital have told Stanley to do everything in moderation as he recovers. “I can’t eat under-cooked or raw foods,” Stanley said. “I must avoid anything that could possibly give me an infection.” He said he still enjoys a vodka cocktail in the evening, but he misses rare prime rib. “It’s a minor trade off,” joked Stanley. “I have the prettiest, and the loveliest, and the kindest and sweetest wife. Now I have a piece of her in me for eternity, forever and ever,” he said. “I’m just glad everything worked out for the best,” said Sandee. “For us it’s the perfect story with the perfect ending.”