Saturday, August 4, 2012

Altruistic donor chain in NY

A news story about a recent non-directed donor kidney exchange chain at Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center caught my eye for several reasons.

There was a wide range of ages of the donors:
"The series of operation on Wednesday and Thursday, which required 10 separate surgical teams and weeks of coordination, was made up of a series of swaps within a group of men and women between the ages of 23 and 68 and with compatible blood types, all motivated by a mix of compassion and commitment to their loved ones."

The senior surgeon, Dr. Lloyd Ratner, is one of the heroes of kidney transplantation, since he did the first laproscopic live donor nephrectomy, which makes it easier for donors to donate, since smaller incisions are involved than with the surgery that had been commonplace before that.

Lily Kuo, the reporter who wrote the story, notes the important role played by the press:
"After every chain that gets some publicity, there's a flood of potential donors contacting kidney exchange networks and individual transplant centers," Alvin Roth, an economics professor at the Harvard Business School said."

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