TRINITY, Fla. (WFLA) — Paul Umbaugh’s son was expected to be a perfect match for a kidney transplant but testing revealed otherwise.
The bad news came earlier this month.
“When they did the cell testing my dad’s cells fought my cells. They had antibodies built up,” Paul Umbaugh IV said. “It came as a shock to us.”
At that point, delays, paperwork snags and poor communication had drained Umbaugh’s trust in the VA, prompting him to opt out of dialysis to expose flaws in the transplant program.
Umbaugh, 61, of Trinity, has now survived one day longer than expected since stopping treatment last week.
“I’m supposed to be dead by Thursday,” Umbaugh said on Wednesday.
In a Friday morning email, Umbaugh wrote he is “exhibiting lots of signs of the end coming.”
The Army veteran also said a VA doctor has called twice “trying to convince him to go back on dialysis and wait for a transplant.”
His son Paul Umbaugh IV said his family is supporting the elder Umbaugh’s choice.
“At the end of the day it’s definitely his decision whether or not he keeps doing the dialysis and we support him stopping it,” Umbaugh said. “We’re happy he has the faith to make that decision. The whole situation in general is just frustrating and sad.”
Another potential donor who served in the same unit as Umbaugh volunteered in January.
The veteran, who asked not to be identified, said he never heard back from the VA after sending in his paperwork. He also said he is still willing to donate a kidney to Umbaugh.
As they wait, Umbaugh’s family remain optimistic about the impact of his decision.
“I just hope that it helps people get the care they need in the time they need it,” Umbaugh’s son said. “Essentially the point is that the process can be streamlined.”