Dynamist Blog

Kidney Blogging Cont'd

kid.jpgThis is Chantal Adamson, 29, who owes her new kidney--and her life--to a determined mother, a generous stranger, and MatchingDonors.com. Anne Geggis of the News Journal in Daytona Beach tells the story. Here's an excerpt:

It probably wouldn't have happened if [her mother Joan] Smith hadn't gone global with an appeal for Chantal's life. Tuesday's new beginning is the result of an innovative organ swap pioneered at one of the nation's premier hospitals.

Adamson received a kidney that was made possible because Tammy Williams 39, of McMillan, Mich., donated hers -- to an anonymous recipient. The recipient had a partner-donor at Johns Hopkins Medical Center who matched Chantal....

Tammy Williams said she would likely have gone through life without meeting Chantal or her mother--much less become a part of their family--if she hadn't typed up a press release about a Web site matching donors and people needing organs for her part-time newspaper job. It instantly piqued her curiosity.

"I've always given blood," said the cell phone saleswoman, mother of three and stepmother of six. "And this seems like the most logical step."...

"She was a mother pleading for her daughter's life," Tammy said, before Tuesday's surgery. "I couldn't imagine not helping them in that situation."

Subsequent tests showed that while Tammy wasn't a match with Chantal, she was a match with an anonymous patient on a donor-recipient list.

Brigitte Reeb, administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Medical Center, said if a program like this was set up nationally, 14,000 donors could come off the national waiting list. She said Web sites that set up Chantal and Tammy are making organ donation easier.

"Most people don't know they can do this until they find that Web site," she said.

Such four-way swaps are becoming more common. Here's a story about two men donating kidneys to each other's wives.

0913donor_mrln.jpg And, slowly but surely, public pressure is overcoming some hospitals' prejudice against finding donors on the Internet. Henry L. Davis of the Buffalo News reports on what hospital officials believe is the first transplant in New York State arranged over the Internet. When Jeanette Ostrom used MatchingDonors.com to find donor William Thomas (right) for her son Paul Cardinale (left), Buffalo General Hospital at first refused to do the transplant. But Ostrom and others persuaded the hospital to change its policy. Davis reports:

Only about 28,100 organ transplants are performed each year in the United States. More than 6,700 Americans die annually while waiting for an organ.

Faced with these facts and tremendous lobbying by patients, hospitals are slowly changing their policies. Buffalo General and Erie County Medical Center, the only facilities in the region that perform transplants, late last year said they would perform transplants for patients who find live donors via the Internet or other media.

Ostrom, another founder of wnykidneyconnection [a site for people in Western New York seeking donors], played a key role in persuading Kaleida Health to revise its policy.

"We came to have a tremendous appreciation for the number of people with end-stage renal disease and those waiting for a kidney," said Dr. Margaret Paroski, chief medical officer of Kaleida Health and chairwoman of the Upstate Transplant Services board of directors.

And to follow up on an earlier posting, both New Jersey pastor-donor Rick Oppelt and congregant-recipient Carol Trapp are doing well, according to this news story, despite a nurses' strike at the hospital where the transplant took place.

UPDATE: According to this followup story, Chantal Adamson is doing well.

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