North Carolina Performs First Successful Abdominal Wall Transplant

Thursday, November 15, 2018

On November 15, 2018 Carolina Donor Services along with Duke Health celebrated a historic achievement, the first abdominal wall transplant in North Carolina, and honored a donor family and their son who gave the ultimate gift, the gift of life.

Carolina Donor Services has partnered with Duke Health and other research institutions on specific clinical trials to save and heal lives through organ and tissue donation. These clinical trials are very unique and specific. Authorization to participate is given by donor family members and is not part of North Carolina’s donor registry.

“The donor family was simply extraordinary,” said Danielle Niedfeldt, president and CEO Carolina Donor Services. “When it became evident that their son, Marcus, would not survive, his parents Sherry and John, asked first about the ability to donate his organs, eyes and tissues. They wanted something good to come from this tragedy.”

Once authorization was given to Carolina Donor Services for organs and tissue, the family was approached by Carolina Donor Services to be part of this clinical trial.

Marcus and his parents gave the ultimate gift, the gift of life to six different recipients through eight of his transplanted organs. For a variety of reasons, on average between 3.5 - 4 organs are transplanted from one donor.

“Marcus Scales will forever be remembered for being a loving and fun son, brother, cousin, uncle and friend,” continued Niedfeldt. “Yet, six different families will be forever thankful for Marcus’ heroic gift of organ donation.”

Marcus Scales Organ Donor North Carolina 

Marcus Scales (donor)


 Duke Abdominal Wall Transplant Team Johnathan Nauta

Jonathan Nauta (recipient) & Duke Team


 North Carolina Abdominal Wall Recipient Johnathan Nauta

Johnathan holding sign dedicated to Marcus


  North Carolina First Abdominal Wall Transplant Duke Health Carolina Donor Services

(from left) Sherry Scales, Jonathan Nauta, Danielle Niedfeldt (CEO of Carolina Donor Services, Detlev Erdmann, M.D. (Division of Plastic, Maxillofacial, & Oral Surgery), and Debra Sudan, M.D. (Division of Abdominal Transplant Surgery)