Cedars-Sinai Blog

10-Year-Old Noah Has His Health Under Control

Kidney transplant patient Noah Owens and Dr. Dechu Puliyanda

Dr. Dechu Puliyanda, director of Cedars-Sinai Pediatric Nephrology, met Noah Owens in 2014 when he just 7 years old and in need of a kidney transplant. His personality and tough negotiating skills immediately charmed her.

"When Noah was on dialysis, he was limited to a half cup of milk each day," Dr. Puliyanda remembers. "Every chance he got, he would ask me to grant him three wishes. One of those always was to increase that half cup to three-quarters of a cup. Once he got that, he negotiated for 1 cup. It made me laugh every time."

For Dr. Puliyanda, getting to know her young kidney transplant patient has been every bit as important as tracking his health. Connecting with him on things he cares about, like his science project or what is happening at home, is an important part of his treatment.

"Knowing about Noah helps me be a better doctor," says Dr. Puliyanda.

A plan for a new kidney

Noah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 4. Thanks to the hard work he and his grandma Marsha put into managing his blood sugar, it didn't take long to get his diabetes under control. But then he faced another hurdle.

Noah's kidneys had started leaking protein—something essential for his growing body.

His grandma decided to bring him to Cedars-Sinai. "I knew they would be proactive in treating Noah," she says.

A biopsy revealed Noah's kidneys were failing due to an autoimmune disease.

The family listened to Dr. Puliyanda's recommendation: Put Noah on dialysis, remove the failing kidneys, and join the Donate Life transplant list. The mission was to get Noah a new, healthy kidney.

"I was surprised at how complicated Noah's case was," Dr. Puliyanda recalls. "But coming up with a game plan was easy because the diabetes was under control."

Taking control

New kidney, same Noah

"Knowing about Noah helps me be a better doctor."

Throughout Donate Life Month, we’ll be sharing stories of Cedars-Sinai transplant patients like Noah.