Advocacy Living Kidney Donor

Promoting Living Donation, the Federal Government Edition

I’m sure we’ve all heard about the recent U of Toledo debacle, wherein a person loved their sibling so much they relinquished their precious kidney, only to have it discarded like someone’s cancerous tumor.

What you may not know is that about a week prior to this inexcusable disaster, this same transplant program was given a $2 million federal grant to increase their living kidney donor transplants (and revenue) by persuading incompatible kidney donors and recipients to participate in paired kidney donation (or swaps). Mind you, this is the same Department of Health and Human Services that, a year ago, refused to give out grants that would ‘promote living donation’.

But according to their most recent Open Opportunities:

The overall goal of this grant program is to:  (1) reduce the gap between the demand for organ transplants and the supply of organs from deceased donors by identifying successful strategies that can serve as model interventions to increase deceased organ donation and, (2) increase the knowledge of options available through living donation among patients who may need transplants and/or individuals considering serving as a living donor. 


But wait….

However, because of the risks associated with any major surgical procedure, this grant program will not support projects that attempt to encourage living donation, increase the number of living donors or increase individuals’ readiness/willingness to pursue living donation as reflected in the goals, interventions, outcome measures, and metrics.


Sure, paired donation falls under ‘knowledge of options’ but doesn’t it also fall under ‘attempt to…increase number of living donors’ too? I mean, isn’t that the overall goal, to get kidneys for sick recipients. In this case, from the living??


We have NO national standards of living donor evaluation, selection, treatment or follow-up for living donors in the US. 

We have NO comprehensive short or long–term data on living donors’ health and well-being. 

And we have NO structured support services or aftercare for those living donors who experience depression, grief, anxiety, anger and/or PTSD.


Yet somehow it’s acceptable to give taxpayer dollars to an entity that is complicit in the above problems, under the guise of ‘education’, that will (btw) increase that entity’s revenue and profit margin, but with no safety precautions for the two-kidneyed public caught in the net?



Worse case scenario, I guess we just blame it on the nurses.