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IU Health Successfully Performs State’s First Twitter Surgery

| IndianapolisIndiana University Health surgeons not only saved a life on Wednesday but also opened the doors to the world during the state’s first successful “live-tweeted” surgery on Twitter.

Kidney donor Colin Newton, 33, and recipient Caleb Johnson, 31, are both doing well following a kidney transplant procedure. The two friends, who live about 30 miles south of Terre Haute, are expected to leave IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis over the next few days. Johnson suffers from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, or FSGS, a condition where the kidney no longer filters blood correctly. Prolonged issues can lead to kidney failure.

During their surgery, IU Health staff provided “play-by-play” commentary from the surgical team and family members, as well as photos from throughout the procedure.

“We hope the public not only learned something about kidney transplantation but also now appreciate the courage shown by living kidney donors. These two gentlemen have allowed us to show the miracle of organ transplantation,” said Dr. Tim Taber, medical director of the kidney transplant program for IU Health. “Live-tweeting the surgery was a great way to share with the public what goes on in the operating room and we were excited to see so many new followers on Twitter.”

The “tweet team” sent out dozens of tweets over the course of the day with the hashtag #calebskidney. Those who followed the surgery can see additional updates on Newton and Johnson over the next several months on Twitter (@IU_Health) and online at Followers can also visit that website to send Newton and Johnson a “Get Well” e-postcard.

The kidney is, by far, the most demanded organ needed for transplant. More than 90 percent of the more than 100,000 Americans waiting on the national transplant list for a lifesaving solid organ transplant are in need of a new kidney and 20 Americans die every day while waiting on an organ. While waiting for a kidney, many patients, including Johnson, have to go on dialysis. Unfortunately, due to the time and energy commitment of dialysis, Johnson had to leave his job shortly after being promoted to a managerial position.

IU Health, one of the largest transplant centers in the country, performs close to 500 lifesaving transplants each year. Of that number, nearly half are kidney transplants – many of which are made possible thanks to living kidney donors. To learn more about how to become a living kidney donor visit


About Indiana University Health Named among the “Best Hospitals in America” by U.S. News & World Report for 14 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine – one of the nation’s leading medical schools – gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology.


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