Paul Thorpe

For brave read stupid on altruistic kidney donation

We have two kidneys for a reason – if one packs up, we can live on the other. So what would bring you to getting rid of one of your giblets when you still definitely require it?

It is, of course, incredibly sad when someone experiences the hellish existence of life with a failing vital organ. I can fully understand that if a blood relative or lifelong partner is likely to die while on a transplant list, then one would consider a live donation.

However, am I alone in not sharing the same journalistic enthusiasm championing the rise in altruistic donation this week?

Dewy eyed reporters were in raptures over the ‘brave’ people who willingly gave up their kidneys for general use on the transplant list. In medicine, the term ‘brave’ is often a polite way of saying ‘stupid’ or ‘reckless’, and this lot fall firmly into the same category.

Has anyone spotted the flaw of middle aged people giving up a kidney with 20 years plus expected of the singleton? What happens when their own renal function starts to pack up? Won’t they just be contributing to the problem they are trying to solve, having to go out and find their own altruistic donor?

The claims that ‘live’ organs are rejected less than post mortem ones may be true, but surely the point here is that we need a more open and aggressive policy towards increasing the number of donors – like the Iberian countries, where not only are you more likely to be placed in a persistent vegetative state by another road user, but there is also an ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’ organ donation/harvest policy.

Needless to say, they have fewer people on the waiting list.

Call me selfish, but I want to keep my filtering tanks the way they are, and only my family need apply for any consideration – the rest of you – hands off my kidneys!

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6 Responses to “For brave read stupid on altruistic kidney donation”

  1. amador-siblings says:

    This contradiction is prevalent in many people i come across. One would receive a life saving organ but will not register as an organ donor with the DMV.

  2. Diane Franks says:

    “if one packs up we can live on the other”. If you have kidney disease it will affect both kidneys. Rarely is only one affected. Example being if you are say in an accident and physically damage one. That would be a rare occurrence indeed.

    Who says that elderly peoples kidneys will start packing up? Over the years I have known many an elderly person who has never had a kidney pack up. So again, not that common for kidney transplant to be required in our “dotage”!

    I totally agree we need a much more agressive campaign and indeed we should have an opt out system.

    As for being stupid and not brave, well I agree with the latter but not the former

    Bad eating habits can lead to diabetes which in turn leads to kidney problems which in turn leads to needing a transplant. Perhaps as you are a doctor, you should be educating your patients a bit more as to what will keep their kidneys healthy!

  3. Jools says:

    As an Altruistic Kidney donor myself, I must say I was both saddened and outraged by the comments made in this article that basically say I am one of the ‘stupid’ or ‘reckless’ lot you refer to. For your information, I am neither, but you wouldn’t know that because you don’t know me and probably don’t know any of the other Altruistic kidney donors either. So please, don’t bandy those words around in relation to me.
    I did not just wake up one morning and decide on a whim to part with one of my organs. It was a decision I came to after many years of thought and research.
    Also, were you aware of the fact that the oldest altruistic donor is 83? I’d say that would give a lot of people a lot of hope, don’t you, and is not something to be ridiculed? There couldn’t have been much wrong with those 83 year old kidneys.
    I wonder if your comments would be the same if it were you who needed a life saving kidney transplant and I had offered you mine? Would you be referring to me as stupid and reckless then?

  4. Patrick says:

    Anyone with journalistic integrity would have found one of these ‘stupid’ people to talk to first.

  5. Goatee says:

    I cannot believe the selfishness of this man!!! My son desperately needs a kidney and I would willingly give him mine but can’t because of my diabetes. I hope the author never reaches the depths of despair and depression suffered by my son because of his kidney failure. He lived a healthy lifestyle, went to the gym almost daily, has never smoked and certainly doesn’t deserve to be struck down by this debilitating illness. He spends 4 hours x 4 days a week on a dialysis machine and has nt quality of life to boast about. Perhaps Paul should try living like that before he belittles those generous enough to altruistically donate a kidney. (Oh, and we have an appendix that we don’t need too!!)

  6. Tracy says:

    My mom’s Multiple Myeloma Dr loves to put pressure on me to donate a kidney to my mother on an experimental basis. Because my mom has cancer (most likely terminal) she cannot get a kidney on a list and must only receive it from a close family member. I don’t want to donate a kidney. I’m 30 and a competitive athlete. I will be forwarding this article to him the next time he puts pressure on me. I will be forwarding it to my mom as well.

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