Surgeon Donates Kidney to Anesthesiologist After Hearing About His Plight in Operating Room

"I believed in transplantation, and when I found out I was a match for Brian, I went and donated my kidney," Dr. Colleen Coleman said.

A California general surgeon took the phrase “practice what you preach” to heart when she overheard her anesthesiologist colleague needed a kidney, and donated hers.

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“It’s an unbelievable feeling to have someone give you such a gift,” said Dr. Brian Dunn, an anesthesiologist at the Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach. "It makes you feel just grateful all the time."

Dunn told he battled testicular cancer as a teenager. Although chemotherapy was effective at healing him of cancer, his kidneys failed as a result of the medication.

When Dunn was 23, he said his mother had donated a kidney that was effective for 20 years until he went into kidney failure once again.

“I had to go on dialysis,” Dunn said. “It was a blessing, but it was also a curse because I had to do it four times a day.”  

Although the dialysis was keeping him alive, Dunn, who has been at the hospital for 13 years, said it held him back from duties associated with his job.

Dr. Colleen Coleman, who is a general surgeon at the hospital, said she felt like she needed to intervene after she discovered he needed a kidney as they were in the operating room together.

“I had done transplantation as part of my training,” Coleman said. “I believed in transplantation, and when I found out I was a match for Brian, I went and donated my kidney.”

Coleman said that although some colleagues told her to think twice about her decision, she said she never hesitated.

“The personal benefit of being able to make an impactful change in somebody's life is really something that can't be bought or sold or explained,” she told

After the surgery last week, both Coleman and Dunn said they are recovering well, and are supported by all their colleagues at the hospital.

Read: Babysitter, 22, Donates Liver to Baby She Watched Over the Summer: 'It's a Small Sacrifice'

While Coleman didn’t medically benefit from the procedure, Dunn said he has already started feeling the effects of his new kidney.

“I have more energy, everything is better once I got the kidney. I feel great,” Dunn said. "It takes something like this for everybody to see what kind of family we are.”

Watch: Man Donates Liver to Stranger, Then Marries Her 2 Years Later: 'It Felt Surreal'