Most Pass Away While Waiting for a Kidney [PHIL-OSOPHY]
It was by chance that I took a left off Old Westport Road onto to Cross Road, near UMass Dartmouth. That's where a weathered sign caught my eye: "KIDNEY URGENTLY NEEDED, Type A or O, Call Patricia (508) 642-2880."
You know how you process some things and then store them in the back of your head? That's what I did. But then this week the sign came back to mind when I was applauding President Trump's bold vision for transforming kidney care for the estimated 37 million Americans affected by kidney disease. The commitment will set a new course for kidney health to help revolutionize transplantation and treatments which patients everywhere have been waiting on for far too long.
So I drove back out to the sign's location and started knocking on neighborhood doors, asking where I could find Patricia, the woman who needed a kidney? No luck finding the person, so I called the number and left a message. Truth is when I knocked on Patricia's door, she didn't answer because she was finishing up her 13-hour-long dialysis, something she has to do every day in order to live.
She did return my call and we talked about her challenges of getting a live donation because most kidneys come from non-living donors. The former Westport High School teacher talked about how getting the word out about organ donations was so important and the sad reality is that most people die while waiting. Dialysis only does a 10 percent job of cleaning the blood. Pat was told by Boston Medical Center that the wait is now 10 years, so getting a live donation would be faster for her.
Pat told me that the surgery is laparoscopic and one could be back home the next day, and that we only need one kidney to live a long life and all costs are covered by her insurance. Presently, her kidney function is only three percent, making it necessary for her to be on peritoneal dialysis 13 hours a day.
Pat poured her heart out about waiting for a life-saving organ. Most of us have an extra kidney, so why not share the spare?
Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.