Everyday a patient on the active transplant List waits for “The Phone To Ring” calling them to the hospital to receive the “Gift of Life” in the form of an organ transplant. For patients with Chronic Kidney Disease that do not have an identified living donor must continue to wait. Depending upon their blood type, it can be a minimum of four to five years. To even be considered to receive a transplant, a patient must meet several different criteria. for a kidney patient they must have reached CKD Stage 4 and thier GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) must be below 30. It is sad that They could not be worked up when they were Stage 3. maybe not active on the list but at least have all the testing completed. When your kidneys start declining from Stage 3 down, depending on the cause of your disease, it can continue on for a few years, a few months, or not even a month. So much depends on the overall health of the individual. I have monitored a patient with Renal failure from birth to date (21 Years) I watch them do well up until they turned 16, Then the decline started a little more quickly. In February of 2015 the patient dropped suddenly to a GFR of 15 down from 30. They were then worked up to be placed on the active list. The GFR rebounded above 15 for a few months which caused the patient to be placed on Hold till after thier 18th birthday. This caused a major issue as the patient was being seen as a Pediatric patient, and would still be able to until they were 21. The on problem was if they went down suddenly again and need to be put on Dialysis the Only Pediatric clinic was Full. The Nephrologist decided that with this problem in mind the Patient should be transferred to adult from Pediatric Nephrology. Working with the family the Doctor referred the patient to a Nephrologist at another Facility. The patient stayed listed at the Transplant center for Pediatrics. After many issues with the patients commercial insurance company the Patients listing was transferred to the Facility that the Adult Nephrologists worked with. The patient did receive thier accrued time form the when they were made active. The family hoped and prayed to hear the Phone Ring with the call for them to go to the hospital. When the patient had thier 21st Birthday Their GFR was still hovering around 15. Then 5 days later they ended up in the ER acutely Uremic and had to be started on Hemodialysis. Not what the patient wanted… They had prefered to do Peritoneal dialysis but thier lab was not “Bad Enough ” to justify placement of a catheter per the insurance and the Guidelines… They are now converted to PD (Peritoneal Dialysis) and doing their therapy at home. Still they wait for the “Phone to Ring”.
Do you know of some one that is on the “list”? are you and organ donor? Is it on your Drivers License? Being a donor is not a piece of cake. You are going to have a major surgery to give the “gift of Life” to another. Many times the Donor has more Post-op issues in the hospital than the recipient. But that is easily managed. While I have focused on Kidney Transplantation, There are other types of transplants that a living donor can offer. Liver, they remove a portion of the donors liver and graft it to the patients. The Donors liver will regenerate it self. Stem Cells, Can be a life saving gift for some patients, Bone Marrow can help Hemophiliacs. Both do not require a hospital stay for the donor. Unfortunately the Heart and Lungs come from a Cadaver. Unless you make it known that if something were to happen to you your organs would be available to be donated, It would come down to a family member to choose. Please make it know on your position for organ donations. Help those on the list ‘ know that they are blessed “When The Phone Rings” and it is for them to receive the Gift of Life.