Living Well: Woman undergoes bariatric surgery to qualify for kidney transplant


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.– A woman just took the first step to changing her life. Hailei Hall, 25, has faced a number of health struggles at such a young age. She was diagnosed with kidney disease at 15-years-old, lost her vision 5 years later, then placed on dialysis at age 21.

“I just felt that life was over at that time. I didn’t really have a lot of hope,” says Hailei Hall, patient.

There came a point when Hailei decided it was time to get her life back and undergo a kidney transplant.

“The first time I applied, sent my referral to the transplant committee, they actually denied me before they even saw me because I was extremely overweight,” she says.

Weighing at 280 pounds, Hailei worked hard to lose 50. She looked at other options to shed the remaining weight to qualify for the transplant list.

“Just doing research, me getting into support groups and youtube videos, and me actually coming here to do a consultation with Dr. Paul, I decided that I did want to go ahead and get the gastric sleeve,” says Hailei.

Bariatric surgery was a life-changing experience Hailei was more than ready for.

“It allows you to regain parts of your life you thought were gone,” says Eric M. Paul, Baptist Health Bariatric Surgeon.

Baptist Health Bariatric Surgeon, Eric Paul, says weight loss surgery is not a magic pill, but can be a tool to help patients reach a goal.

“The surgery itself is not the be all end all. It is the every other part of your life has to change with it and that’s a tall order. No question,” says Dr. Paul.

He says Hailei’s case was special because after undergoing the gastric sleeve procedure, Hailei was down to 180 pounds. And just the night before we spoke with her, she received news she’s been waiting to hear.

“I just cried, I think I turned around in a thousand circles and I just screamed and danced because I just felt like my time has finally come,” she says.

Hailei was accepted on the transplant list.

“Just the amount of freedom that that gives her is so exciting, and she is the culmination, the embodiment of what I wanted to do as a doctor,” explains Dr. Paul.

That new found freedom gives Hailei hope to travel and live again.

“I feel like I’m living the best life that I’ve ever lived,” she says.

She hopes her story inspires other people to have the courage and take control of the life. There are various weight loss surgery options available at Baptist Health. Visit or call the Baptist Health Bariatric Center at 501-202-4477.

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