Friday, December 30, 2005

Saving a life

I received this from someone who now has a donated kidney.

Proposal for increasing the number of kidney donors.

From personal experience by a donor

Tens of thousands of people suffer from kidney diseases. In the USA in
2001 there were more than 50,000 people waiting for a kidney operation.
Each year in the USA about 3,000 people die while waiting for a kidney

Kidney transplants are about twice as effective as cadaver operations. The
advantages are indisputable:
---Live kidneys last many years longer.
---Live transplants allow thorough testing.
---More variety and choices allow better matching of donors to recipients.
---Hospitals can operate at the most convenient time and location.
---Live transplants avoid time pressure while the cadaver kidney is dying.
---Hospitals can decide who is the most suitable and worthy recipient.

There are very few disadvantages of a live kidney operation. The remaining
single kidney enlarges and takes over the work of both kidneys. Donating
one kidney does not increase the risk of having kidney diesases, as this
affects both kidneys.

As someone who has donated altruistically, I have experienced many
spiritual benefits:
---The donor has great satisfaction knowing that they have done something
very personal to drammatically improve, and in some cases actually save
someone's life.
---The more altruistic the donation, the purer is the intrinsic reward to the
---This is one of the greatest acts of love and one of the highest levels of
good deeds that we can do.
---In the unlikely event that the operation is not successful, the donor still
has the peace and joy of knowing that what they are doing is right
---Such acts of love will develop respect and co-operation between all types
of people.

Altruistic donations do not put any emotional or financial pressure on the
recipient. This is the most noble of all types of kidney transplants. This
gives greatest satisfaction to the donor and greatest benefit to the recipient
and should therefore be encouraged by the medical authorities. The
procedure is very safe, easy and relatively painless.

In the interest of people dying from kidney disease, it is important to
maximise donor potential.
---Each hospital would benefit from developing a procedure for kidney
donations which includes briefing the potential donor of the inconveniences
and timescale involved.
---Hospitals may wish to create a website on which they outline all the
information needed by the potential donor, including who can donate,
financial support during the process, tests involved, and personal accounts of
people who have donated
---Hospitals can use the website to explain how safe, easy and relatively
painless the donation process really is.
---Added to the website could be a discussion forum between the donors
and the hospital which can also have links to other hospitals and their
---To help preserve ethical integrity, the hospital could co-ordinate all the
information between the donor and the recipient so there would be no
chance of pressure or financial coercion.

---A "Good Samaritan donation program" can be established for people
wishing to give altruistically to whoever the hospital determines is a good
---Friends and relatives should be supported in stepping forward to give to
their loved one. If, however, they cannot match their loved one, then
another process can be established such as at the Johns Hopkins hospital in
Baltimore USA. Potential donors should not be rejected, but can be used to
donate to a needy recipient whom the hospital determines.
---In this case, donor A does not match his loved one, recipient B. Donor A
proceeds to give a live kidney donation to a matching, stranger, recipient "C."
Because donor A has donated to someone, then recpient B should be put to
the top of the priority list and will soon receive a kidney operation In this
way, kidney donors can donate to anyone and still be helping their loved
one. This can also work to encourage kidney disease patients to generate
donors, and they would be rewarded by being given a kidney transplant
much quicker than usual.
---One other idea to encourage live altruistic donors is to automatically put
donors themselves to the top of the kidney waiting list in the event that they
suffer from kidney failure some time after having donated.
---Every potential donor will still be scrutinised through a series of
assessments by people such as a social worker, a psychologist, clinical
psychologist, lawyer, medical ethicist and someone from the government
medical authority.

---It is in the interest of medical insurance companies to support the
principles of live kidney donation. A one-off live kidney transplant is far
cheaper than years paying for dialysis. It is important that there should be
good communication between the medical insurance people, the hospital and
the donor's employer. Once the hospital has paired a donor with a recipient,
the insurance people can support the donor by covering their accomodation
and travel costs during the time taken away from work and then ensuring
their safe return to their previous employment.

Live kidney donation is the best solution for the recipient, the donor, the
hospital and the insurance company.

It is suggested that hospitals with no current donation program in place can
communicate with other medical establishments such as the Johns Hopkins
in Baltimore, US, (and other bodies pioneering work in this area), to share
their knowledge. Communication seems to be the key in breaking down the
walls that stop people from stepping forward to donate. How can we make it
easy for individuals to step forward to help with the incredible need that
exists in every country from people suffering with kidney failure?

I hope my own testimony helps in encouraging people to see the positive
side of donating altruistically, so that others consider stepping forward too.

For more information on how to search the web for a donor contact:

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