Ethical Considerations Living Kidney Donor

Loyola’s Living Donor Ethics – Beyond Epic Fail

Loyola, home of the “let’s convince seven of our employees to kick out kidneys so we can generate lots of press and even more money”, has issued the following press release, entitled:

Loyola Kidney Donor Saves Her Own Life by Giving an Organ.

The title alone makes me gag because it’s such obvious propaganda, but most of all because it’s a Big. Fat. Lie.

It wasn’t donating that caused Dorothy Jambrosek to discover her pre-cancerous lesions – it was the EVALUATION. And it’s not because the living donor evaluation is such a rigorous thing: regular self-exams, a mammogram, and an OBGYN exam would’ve turned up the same thing. To give credit to Loyola or to the transplant industry for discovering these lesions is simply bunk.

The treatment for Ms. Jambrosek’s lesion was a double-masectomy.

Read that again. A double-masectomy. Not radiation, not chemotherapy, not a lumpectomy – a DOUBLE MASECTOMY. One does not have to be well-versed in breast cancer knowledge to know that one does not undergo a double masectomy unless the situation is of the upmost severity, one’s prognosis is critical, and one’s cancer is aggressive and expected to spread. This was not a “Let’s remove that suspicious mole just be safe” scenario.

One of the transplant industry’s major justifications for harvesting the public’s kidneys and livers is that living donors are healthy, much healthier the average person. Ms. Jabrosek was clearly not. Yet Loyola put her through a major and unnecessary surgery, and took her kidney anyway. They exposed her to a host of short and (unknown) long-term consequences because her recipient “had been difficult to match” and because “six other people were able to receive kidneys”. So who were they prioritizing really – Ms. Jabrosek, seven recipients, or fees for fourteen surgeries?

According to the article the following people participated in this ethical quagmire:

– Constantine Godellas, MD, FACS, director of the Breast Clinical Program and co-director of the multidisciplinary Breast Oncology Center

– LUHS plastic surgeon Victor Cimino, MD, FACS

– LUHS kidney transplant surgeon John Milner, MD

Some types of chemotherapy are nephrotoxic – poisonous to kidneys. What if her cancer returns? Is it inadequately treated, or does she risk kidney failure because she has 50% less renal reserve to withstand noxious substances? Will Godellas, Cimono, and Milner give her one of theirs? Or will they deny culpability?

The situation itself is distasteful, but the fact that Loyola has used it as a PR opportunity is reprehensible. There is nothing to celebrate in exploiting the generosity and good will of Ms. Jabrosek or others like her. That Loyola thinks there their behavior should be flaunted is indicative of exactly how skewed their ethics really are. Shame on them.

One reply on “Loyola’s Living Donor Ethics – Beyond Epic Fail”

OK, I need to admit up-front that I never so much as darkened the door of a chemistry classroom, and barely passed Biology 101, but my first concern would be, "What if the donated kidney had some cancer cells in it or on it? Could the recipient have gotten second-hand cancer from it?"

Do they do anything to ensure that the donated organ doesn't carry any cooties of one kind or another?

I used to work at a blood donation center, where they paid $25 per unit of blood plasma. Would be donors were routinely asked all sorts of questions about how healthy they were. You wouldn't believe all the winos, dopers and hookers who swore, solemn as judges, that they never did ANYTHING unhealthy. . .

Kinda makes you think twice about anything that has been "donated" for money.

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