Advocacy Follow-Up Living Donor Risks Living Kidney Donor OPTN Registry

Letter to Editor: Where’s the Care for Living Donors?

[note: is it sad that I’m more impressed/surprised/pleased a newspaper actually published this than I am about what was said?]

Letter to the editor: ‘Heroic’ organ donors need aftercare

It is gratifying that Gary Rutter received a long-awaited kidney and that Hallie Twomey has found solace in donating one of hers (“Six linked patients, three saved lives in series of kidney transplants,” Jan. 17). The marvels of modern medicine and the generosity of the human heart are breathtaking.

However, while the article cited possible outcomes for recipients, there was no reference to outcomes for donors.

In fact, the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement Transplant Network – a private corporation that has managed the nation’s transplantation system since 1986 and collects a fee for every recipient and living donor – has fiercely resisted the establishment of an independent registry of living organ donors through which long-term outcomes could be tracked.

According to figures cited in your article – 16,812 kidney transplants last year at an average cost of $262,900 – kidney transplantation is a multibillion-dollar industry. Surely that staggering sum can finance long-term monitoring and health care for living donors, who will experience reduced kidney function.

Hallie Twomey deserves no less for her heroic act. Your reporter wrote that “being tired all the time” a month after surgery is “a lasting effect of the anesthesia.”

Actually, her fatigue might be caused by her remaining kidney hyperfiltering to compensate for the loss of its partner. I hope Ms. Twomey has had an independent donor advocate to guide and support her through this process.

Nora Irvine

South Berwick

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