Medical City Fort Worth January 28, 2016

"I am willing to donate a kidney to whoever needs it."

An Arlington police officer, inspired by a large national kidney transplant chain last year, selflessly decided to donate one of his own kidneys to a stranger. This week, his “Good Samaritan” donation at Medical City Fort Worth of Fort Worth launched a kidney swap chain resulting in three people receiving a new lease on life.

“Arlington Police Det. Josh Gowins literally walked through our front doors and said ‘I am willing to donate a kidney to whoever needs it,’ ” said Dr. George Rofaiel, surgical director of transplant services for the Fort Worth Transplant Institute at Medical City Fort Worth. “Our patients often wait a very long time for a kidney. While they are waiting, their chances of dying are very high – actually worse than with a lot of cancers. This is the height of grace and generosity for a donor to undergo surgery for somebody he didn’t even know. He started a chain reaction where three people were transplanted who otherwise might not have had a chance.”

Gowins has been an Arlington police officer for eight years, dedicated to helping the community. He is a 36-year-old husband and father of a four-year-old daughter. His altruistic organ donation enabled the Fort Worth Transplant Institute to coordinate a complicated transplant chain.

Gowins’ kidney went to a woman whose husband wanted to give her his kidney, but they weren’t a transplant match. The husband, in turn, donated a kidney to a stranger, 20-year-old Alonso Ruvalcaba of Fort Worth, who has been on dialysis for two years. Alonso’s 23-year-old brother, Horacio Ruvalcaba, was not a match for Alonso, but donated to yet another stranger, 53-year-old Jose Morales of Fort Worth, who would have needed dialysis without a new kidney.

“It’s so awesome that I can help out these complete strangers in such a profound way,” Gowins said. “I’ve been helped out so many times in the past, and I just felt like that’s one of the reasons we are here is to try to help out our fellow man. I’m excited for the recipients and hoping it makes a change in their lives for the better.”

The Ruvalcaba brothers, who both attended Eastern Hills High School in Fort Worth, said they are grateful for Gowins’ gift to their family.

“He’s my brother, so I want him to be around for a long time,” Horacio said with a smile. “I feel that this is a brave, brave move” that this officer made to start this chain.

In 2015, Medical City Fort Worth was part of the largest kidney swap in U.S. history, which involved 70 recipients and donors across the nation, including a Fort Worth patient who received a kidney at Medical City Fort Worth. Organ donation swaps require much effort and coordination from the transplant team. The most recent kidney swap at the Fort Worth Transplant Institute was organized by Dr. Sameh Fayek, the institute’s newest surgeon partner, and coordinated by Tim Keefe, living donor coordinator.


News Conference: Arlington Police Detective Donates Kidney to Complete Stranger

"I am willing to donate a kidney to whoever needs it."

WHAT: Arlington police detective Josh Gowins, inspired by a large national kidney transplant chain last year, decided to donate one of his own kidneys to a stranger. This week, his “Good Samaritan” donation at Medical City Fort Worth launched a kidney swap chain resulting in three people receiving a new lease on life.

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

WHERE: Medical City Fort Worth, Classroom A/B., 900 8th Ave., Fort Worth, 76104. Free parking is available in any surface lot adjacent to the hospital. Enter via the front doors (facing W. Humbolt St.) and check in at the front information desk.

VIDEO/PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES: Det. Josh Gowins will share his story and answer questions. Also available: Transplant Surgeon George Rofaiel, MD and Nephrologist Sridhar Allam, MD Arlington Police Dept. Representatives Lt. Chris Cook, Sgt. VaNessa Harrison, Officer Zhivonni McDonnell and Cheryel Carpenter Medical City Fort Worth CEO Clay Franklin LifeGift organ procurement representatives Ron Ehrle and Ahsley Meyka Mccollum Possible: Brothers Alonso Ruvalcaba, 20, and Horacio Ruvalcaba, 23, transplant recipient and donor, respectively.

If you plan to attend, please text Pamela Percival, Medical City Fort Worth Director of Media and Public Relations, 817-296-1784.

About Medical City Fort Worth

Medical City Fort Worth, located in the heart of Fort Worth’s medical district, is a 320-bed facility offering comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services in a wide range of specialties and subspecialties, including cardiac care, neurosciences, oncology, orthopedics, kidney transplants and emergency care. Medical City Fort Worth is part of Medical City Healthcare, one of the region’s largest, most comprehensive health care providers.