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Shuttle Senator Enters Hospital To Donate Kidney To Daughter

September 9, 1986

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Sen. Jake Garn entered a hospital today for surgery in which doctors will transplant one of his kidneys to his ailing daughter.

Garn, 53, will donate a kidney to Susan Rhae Garn Horne, 27, who suffers from progressive kidney failure due to a diabetic condition.

″I am very happy and proud to be the donor,″ Garn, R-Utah, said before checking into Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. ″Her mother carried her for nine months, and I am honored to give her part of me.″

Garn underwent tests in Salt Lake City and Washington last month to determine his suitability as a donor. Two of Garn’s sons also were tested and found to be suitable, and Garn said that if his daughter rejects his kidney, the brothers could be donors.

The nephrectomy will be performed Wednesday by Dr. G. Baird Helfrich, associate professor of surgery and director of transplantation.

Garn, a virtual shoo-in for re-election to a third term in November, decided several months ago that he wanted to donate the kidney but has been reluctant to talk about it.

″I am an elected public official. I expect to have to live in a fishbowl. It doesn’t bother me,″ he told The Associated Press last week. ″This lately has been a different matter because it involves not only a child, but an adult married child.

″She’s not elected to anything and I’ve been trying to protect her privacy,″ said Garn, a retired Air Force colonel and the only senator to ride the space shuttle.

Mrs. Horne’s kidney function dropped to 40 percent in the spring, and doctors talked of a transplant. ″But then she remained stable until a few weeks ago when she began to fail rapidly,″ Garn said.

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