Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Don't Say it Unless You Mean It!

My husband, Steve, is waiting for a kidney (blood type A or O). He received a living donor transplant from his wonderful niece, Teresa Duffin, in February of 2009--but things didn't work out the way we had hoped. For a variety of reasons, the new kidney had to be removed. Steve went back on Home Dialysis, and back to waiting for another kidney. How long might he wait? We have no idea, but we do know that many patients die waiting for a transplant.

Steve has some more recovery to accomplish--including a stretch in Cardiac Rehabilitation, and clearance from his cardiologist before he can step into the ring again.

But here's the deal. Several people have been tested to be Steve's donor. Nobody has matched because of the presence of antibodies in Steve's blood (from the first transplant and from the multiple blood transfusions he received).

Several more individuals have earnestly told Steve that they would be tested--that they would give Steve a kidney, but then backed away for one reason or another. We understand that giving someone a kidney isn't like having your ears pierced. It's an enormous effort and gift. Moreover, it does place the donor at some risk, albeit comparatively small.

But please don't make the offer unless you're really willing to follow through. An offer is a lifeline to a patient waiting for a kidney, and to his/her family. The heartbreak of dashed hopes is far too much to bear.

Are you interested in being a donor for someone and need more information? Call the UW at (206)598-8197 or Swedish Medical Center at (206)386-6660.

Just don't tell the potential reipient you're willing to donate unless you are willing to complete the offer.There's too much pain out here already.
Take care. Linda Gromko, MD

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