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Four Brothers and Two Bad Kidneys Make for Strange Reunion

January 11, 1995

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ The Geier brothers are having a family reunion of sorts _ at a kidney transplant center.

Ricky Geier, 39, and Tommy Geier, 38, are recovering from surgery after receving kidneys donated by two of their other brothers, who were perfect matches.

It’s tough to find an ideal match between a kidney donor and a recipient, said Dr. Mark Deierhoi, the lead surgeon at University Hospital.

``I could not even tell you the odds of the two brothers being a perfect match for their brothers,″ he said.

Ricky and Tommy both suffer from Fabry’s syndrome, a rare, hereditary illness that causes kidney failure. The metabolic disorder, which strikes men almost exclusively, was not passed along to their brothers, Mike, 41, and Tim, 33.

A fifth brother, Wayne, was not eligible to donate because of high blood pressure. A lone sister has a young child and could not take the risk.

``We have a pretty close family,″ said Ricky Geier, who was deeply moved by his brother’s sacrifice. ``Once my kidney went out I never had to ask anybody for a kidney, and neither did my other brother. That’s the beauty of it.″

Tommy was listed in fair condition today. The other three were in satisfactory condition.

``I feel great,″ said Mike, a kitchen manager from Panama City, Fla. His three siblings live in eastern Alabama.

For the sake of being together and to save travel time and expenses, the four decided to do the transplants together. Ricky got a new kidney from Mike on Friday; Tommy received his new kidney from Tim on Monday.

``We kind of decided to make it a family affair,″ said Ricky.

Their father, Jack Geier, 68, said it was difficult watching his sons undergo major surgery in the space of a few days. His wife, Louise, died during heart surgery in 1980.

``We were doing something that was absolutely necessary,″ he said. ``There was no reluctance on the part of anyone to volunteer a kidney. We just put it in the hands of the Lord.″

Tommy’s wife, Regina Geier, said the four brothers provided emotional support for each other. ``The two who went through it first were telling the others it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be,″ she said.

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