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Kidney donor suffers complications

Cliff Thompson
Vail Daily/Dominique Taylor Clay Carlton, at his barber shop, Timberline Barbers in West Vail, donated a kidney to a sick friend after tests showed him to be a perfect match.
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WEST VAIL – Need proof of the adage that no good deed goes unpunished? Talk to Clay Carlton. Carlton, who runs Timberline Barbers in West Vail, donated a kidney June 6 to a friend in Grand Rapids, Mich. who was suffering from diabetes. Carlton had planned on taking a week off from work to recover.Three weeks and two surgeries later, the supposedly routine operation to harvest his kidney proved anything but. Somehow surgeons inadvertently stitched his colon closed after harvesting the kidney and it took them 10 days to discover what the problem was.

In the mean time, Carlton said he was really sick. “Every few days I’d vomit up bile,” he said. “I was filling up with liquid until I couldn’t take any more because it wasn’t able to move through my system.”Carlton underwent another operation 10 days ago to reattach his bowel, and Tuesday returned to Colorado.”It was more serious,” he said. “I would call it life-saving surgery. It kind of scares me when I think about it now. I can tell now that I was about half dead.”

The recipient of his kidney, friend Mike Aeling, is doing well, despite experiencing some pain, and, Carlton said, he doesn’t regret his decision.”It would have been good if things went well,” he said. “They told me they hadn’t had a deal like this for the last 300 surgeries.”He had planned on taking June off and being back at work for the busy July 4 holiday. Carlton is staying at his daughter’s home in Golden while he recovers from the second surgery. He estimates he lost 10 to 15 pounds in June. He plans to be back at work in mid-July.



Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colo.


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