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An Interior Remodel

Company president returns to full productivity after kidney transplant

Thomas CallenThomas Callen founded Callen Construction, Inc. with his brother Phil in 1986.  Today the Muskego-based business consists of Callen Design Group, which focuses on interior remodels, and Callen Home Exteriors.  Managing 50+ employees takes a lot of energy—energy that was sapped away by kidney disease.

Callen was 53 years old when he was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy, an autoimmune disease that ultimately destroys the kidneys.  For seven years, he managed his condition with prescription medication.  But by 2008, his kidney was barely functioning.  It was time to start dialysis.

“That’s when I found out how debilitating dialysis can be,” Callen said.  “I could come to the office on my dialysis days, but that was about it.”  Dialysis took more than four hours a day, three days a week and affected everything from Callen’s energy level to his concentration.

Brian Shames, MD Sundaram Hariharan, MD Robert Donnell, MD 
Left to right: Dr. Shames, Dr. Hariharan, Dr. Donnell.

A good friend offered Callen her kidney, which was a compatible match for a kidney transplant.  On Oct. 22, 2008, Brian Shames, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery (Transplant Surgery), performed the transplant.  The kidney worked well initially, however, Callen suffered a series of setbacks related to severe urinary tract infections.  His medical team, though, never quit.  Dr. Shames worked with Callen’s kidney doctor, Sundaram Hariharan, MD, Professor and Chief of Nephrology, and his urologist, Robert Donnell, MD, Associate Professor of Urology.  “Together, they found a solution to what was going on,” Callen said.

Today, Callen is back to work, full-throttle.  He even played tennis recently in the U.S. Transplant Games, where he and his doubles partner won a silver medal.


Physician Expertise at Froedtert & the Medical College Transplant Center
  • In 2009, Medical College transplant team physicians had the highest one-year kidney graft survival rate in the U.S.
  • Transplant survival rates consistently meet or exceed national averages.  
  • Transplant surgeons perform 100 to 120 kidney and kidney and/or pancreas transplants each year.
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Page Updated 07/23/2013