In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

January 14, 2016

Kidney Donation Leads to New Career at Mayo Clinic

By In the Loop

Gena Perreault decided she wanted to work at Mayo Clinic after donating a kidney to Jeff Bruning.Until May 5, 2015, Gena Perreault's only connection to Jeff Bruning was that he sold her husband paint at the local hardware store. That relationship changed dramatically, however, when Perreault donated a kidney to Bruning this past spring, Arizona's Fountain Hills Times reports. The procedure, performed at Mayo Clinic's Arizona campus, saved Bruning's life. The process also made a big difference in Perreault's life, leaving her so impressed that she decided to apply for a job at Mayo Clinic.

Arizona's Fountain Hills Times reports that Bruning's problems began in 2013, when he was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. After his diagnosis, doctors told him he had two options: Have a transplant, or go on dialysis "three times a week for four-hour sessions to flush out the toxins in his body." Initially, he chose dialysis. But the newspaper reports that "led to bouts of atrial fibrillation and nausea, resulting in 27 hospitalizations." Along the way, his weight "dropped to 167 pounds from its normal 230 pounds."

But then he met Perreault, who the newspaper reports "astonished him when she said, 'I'll give you a kidney.'" It was a bold offer that Perreault says she never thought twice about making. "It was the right thing to do," she tells the paper. "I could tell he was running out of time."

After Bruning called Perreault once more to make sure "she was still serious," the newspaper reports that he provided her with "information on becoming a kidney donor and the transplant operation at Mayo Clinic." And after two days of tests to make sure Perreault was a match, Bruning got his new kidney, and Perreault found herself on a new career path.

Asked if there was a particular part of her experience that made her want to work for Mayo, Perreault tells us, "It was the whole process, actually. I've been in and out of hospitals a lot, including giving birth to my two kids, and the whole process at Mayo is just so seamless."

Now that she's a member of the Cardiovascular Department at Mayo's Arizona campus, Perreault says working for Mayo has more than lived up to the hype. "The process that I went through as a patient wasn't just for show," she says. "All of the people I've met and who I work with here at Mayo are always smiling, always willing to help, and always looking to do whatever they can to make a patient's experience here more positive. Here at Mayo, the patient truly does come first."

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Tags: Employee Stories, Gena Perreault, Kidney transplant, Patient Stories

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