In this article, I’ll look at some of the basic information you need to save your life by donating a kidney while donation hk you’re alive, and then I’ll look at some of the reasons why it’s so difficult to provide such information to the public at large. Public.
The waiting list for kidney transplantation in America is more than 100,000 (and grows by about 10,000 per year). Seventeen people die every day waiting for a kidney transplant. (Note: statistics in countries such as Australia and England, where non-targeted organ donation is still scarce, are even worse.) And yet, all it takes to save one of these lives is a voluntary kidney donation.
Many U.S. hospitals will find the most respected recipient for an untargeted kidney donor (altruistic, compassionate or anonymous) – that is, someone who just wants to help someone with kidney disease, who she knows or not. All you have to do is contact the hospital and say that you want to donate a kidney to help someone on the transplant waiting list.
Pre-testing usually lasts from six months to a year (to make sure you’re not impulsive and don’t do something you’ll regret later). Recovery takes about six weeks, although most patients walk on the second day after surgery. Your body only works well with one kidney, so you are unlikely to experience any long-term side effects from donation. You can start living a full normal life.
The risks of kidney donation are comparable to the risks of having a baby. About one in 3,000 donors will die (although this figure also includes deaths in the early days of kidney transplantation, when the death rate was highest). We are not aware of deaths from non-target donors, as standards for non-target donations are much higher than for appropriate donations. (Hospitals are often forced to accept non-ideal donors from a limited list of friends or consonant relatives of the kidney patient.)
Most kidney diseases affect both kidneys at the same time, so if there is only one kidney, it is unlikely that someone will need one other than traumatic kidney damage. However, if a kidney donor in America needs a kidney later, he will get priority in transplantation. Thus, donating a kidney TO IMPROVE your protection from death from kidney failure.
My friends and I started studying this information about ten years ago. Some of us didn’t take long to seriously think about donating a kidney to the needy. It was almost a race to see who could be first. Now we understand that it is not uncommon for family members to often have such a competition to save the life of a loved one. And others who donated to strangers said they felt the same desire to be accepted as a donor because, like us, they thought it would be a wonderful experience.
Now I have more than 20 friends who donated a kidney to a stranger, and this chain reaction has attracted a lot of media attention. Both in print and in the electronic media of Australia, England and America, articles and documentaries about what we did were published, and with the exception of a few positive reports in local newspapers, they were all surprisingly negative.
All the journalists said they wanted to write something good about organ donation, but they hit us one at a time. Naturally, every time we reacted with anger. But now we’re starting to see that their reports are a pretty natural response and probably part of the necessary evolution regarding the donation of living organs… and especially the donation of non-target live organs. We also see that this response is not much different from what many other non-target organ donors have experienced from the media, the general public, government agencies, and sometimes even friends and family members.
If more people knew the facts about donor needs, we are sure that there would be more people who would make donations voluntarily. But there seems to be a global conspiracy to prevent people from hearing the facts.
So far, only about 400 people have donated their kidneys anonymously in America. That’s a little more than one in a million. Why so little? My theory is that there are no ten people per million who know all the facts listed at the beginning of this article. If they don’t know what they need and how to donate, how will they even do it? No one seems to want to tell them (and unfortunately this even includes brilliant reports in local newspapers that rarely suggest that others can do the same).
The general public simply does not know that he can save a life by sacrificing one of his kidneys while he is still alive. They are told that they can save lives by donating blood, and that they can save lives by acting as bone marrow donors. They are even told that they can save a life by donating a kidney after death (although rarely does a person who decides to do so really dies in circumstances where their willingness to donate a kidney is helpful). But right now the masses are ignoring the benefits of kidney donation… even though the entire kidney transplant waiting list could be destroyed if at least one of the 3,000 people who heard what we just said decided to make a donation.
The number of transplants from deceased donors (usually people killed in car accidents) has not increased significantly in recent years. The main problem is that only organs can be extracted from people who have been declared dead brain, and remain in a state of survival for the time needed to notify the recipient and take that person to the hospital. The organ is removed from the life support machine around the same time that the machine is pressed. An additional problem is that the kidney thus obtained in this way on average lives only half of the life of the kidney received from a living donor.
So why don’t people say they can donate a kidney while they’re alive? There seem to be two main reasons, none of which is very easy to pronounce, so as not to offend people: first, the leaders of large organizations such as the National Kidney Foundation tend to be unwilling to have a kidney themselves. it is not fair to encourage others to do things they personally would not like to do. The second reason is that people who have made donations are under intense pressure not to encourage others to make donations. We are told that we would boast or place heavy blame on the rest of society if we insisted on a greater emphasis on education on live and non-target organ donation.
In addition, even people who need a kidney often feel like they are “begging” when they are actively seeking someone’s help to save their lives. Some people are known to die without even telling their closest friends and family members that they need a donor.
It is true that it is not everyone’s business to donate a kidney to save a life. But there are a lot of people like us who would like to know that they can change their lives so much. I was talking to a group of seniors in a nursing home about organ donation, and I was inundated with requests for how to do it. (Unfortunately, these people were too old to donate, but I encouraged them to tell their children and grandchildren.)
There are even rare cases where members of the donor’s family speak out against organ donation (usually due to complications or poor procedures in the hospital faced by their family member). The media welcome these people with open arms, giving the public the impression that all concessions end in this way. (And, surprisingly, the donor himself rarely complains or appears in media reports, as most donors have previously considered the possibility that something might go wrong.