Thursday, July 20, 2006

This is an article published in today's edition of the Vancouver Sun. It relates to my renal unit and the work that I do. It tells a bit about what the donors go through with the process of donating a kidney. There are more live donor transplants then cadaveric (deceased) donors. Relatives or friends get tired of seeing their loved one suffering through the process and pain of dialysis that they agree to be tested and give a kidney. There are often guilt issues that result with this process. It is not always a guarantee that the transplant will be successful, as you read below, and I wonder about how the persons involved feel about this. How the recipient feels, putting their hope on this transplant only to have it not work and now there are 2 people that don't have working kidneys...(the donor has given up a working kidney and now only has one), and the guilt they feel. The disappointment the recipient has, or the anger the donor might feel. Often the persons donating are family or known to each other, but it is rare that there may be an anonymous donor.

The article is talking about social justice. The fact that the government will focus on giving free drugs to addicts, but won't assist with live giving operations... Irony indeed.

Kidney donor puts job on hold to help chum
Woman could benefit from new plan that helps with costs of donating
Glenn Bohn, Vancouver Sun

Published: Thursday, July 20, 2006

Brenda Cote of Burnaby found a friend who is willing to donate the kidney that Cote desperately needs to stay alive-Jo Wright, a self-described "tough chick" who lives in the West Kootenay town of Nelson, is willing to sacrifice one of her two kidneys, but she doesn't think it's right that she should also have to foot the cost for lost wages, travel expenses and other bills. A new $300,000-a-year program announced Wednesday by the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the BC Transplant Society is aimed at helping Wright and other live donors of kidneys or livers.The three-year B.C. pilot program will compensate donors for reasonable out-of-pocket travel and accommodation costs, as well as lost wages. The two non-profit groups say the initiative makes B.C. the first jurisdiction in Canada and North America to reimburse living donors for expenses related to organ donations. A living donor faces big expenses in a pricey place like Vancouver, where all organ transplants in B.C. are performed. And the sacrifice doesn't end after the operation. Living kidney donors may have to stop working for six to eight weeks; the recovery time for liver donors is longer, usually eight to 12 weeks.Wright, who will be eligible for compensation under the new program, has already put out money for her altruistic offer, even though she hasn't gone into an operation room and doesn't yet know when that might happen."I'm putting my job on hold and raising two teenagers on my own, but I'm determined not to worry about the money and just focus on the fact that I may be able to help," Wright said during a telephone interview from Nelson. Last week, Wright went to Vancouver for the final round of tests needed to determine whether she would be a suitable donor for her friend. Wright drove to Vancouver instead of flying to save money, but estimates she's out about $500 because of costs and lost wages for the three days of work she missed. She left Nelson in the evening and drove at night, to keep the number of missed work days to a minimum."There's been a little bit of wear and tear but I'm a tough chick or I wouldn't take this on," Wright said.Then she made a pointed reference to a Vancouver medical study that offers free heroin to selected addicts: "The thing that really burned my britches is that I can go to Vancouver and get a free shot of heroin, but I can't get help to take someone off a medical dependency list."Cote, 43, had a kidney transplant in 1987 and subsequently gave birth to her daughter Erin, now 13.But she's been back on a life-saving kidney dialysis machine for several years and she needs another kidney transplant.Cote said Wright was willing to donate a kidney last November but she had just started a new job and didn't have the money at that time to go to Vancouver and take time off after the operation. "She would have come in a heartbeat, if she was able," said Cote, who has been on an official list for a transplant for two years.The Living Donor Expense Reimbursement Program was outlined Wednesday at a Vancouver news conference. Half of the $300,000 annual budget for the three-year pilot program comes from the B.C. government, through the Provincial Health Services Authority, which is matching contributions from pharmaceutical companies. The province says it expects to recoup its $150,000 contribution within five years because additional live kidney transplants should reduce dialysis costs. -
-The gift of life
Some facts about kidney transplants in B.C.-
The first living donor kidney transplant in B.C. occurred in 1976.- Since then, there have been 862 living donor transplants.
- Each year, there are twice as many living donor transplants as transplants from deceased donors.- Almost 300 B.C. residents are now waiting for a kidney transplant.
- Depending on blood type, the wait for a transplant from a deceased donor could be as long as eight to 10 years.
- On average, about five or six per cent of the people in need of a transplant die while they are on the waiting list.
Sources: BC Transplant Society ( and Kidney Foundation of Canada (

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