Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How not to communicate about kidney exchange

Kidney exchange, aka kidney paired donation is a great opportunity, but it has to be communicated to patients and donors. The state of the art is practiced by surgeons like Dr. Adam Bingaman in San Antonio, who makes sure that patients and donors hear about all options before they even begin to be tested for compatibility. That way, if they are incompatible, they're not surprised to hear they still have options.

Other hospitals only mention kidney exchange after testing donors and finding them incompatible with their intended recipient. Here's a few sentences of a story that makes that clear:

"After testing, Hendon received a letter from UCLA saying she was not a good match.

“I was so sad, almost devastated,” she said. “Then at the bottom of the letter, in tiny letters, it mentioned I could still be involved in a kidney exchange. I called them the next day and they seemed surprised that I still wanted to do it and started the process.

"Once she was approved, it was not long before she was notified that they had a recipient waiting for her kidney."

The donor in question participated in this nonsimultaneous extended altruistic donor (NEAD) chain.

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