Friday, June 19, 2015

Maine hospital goes through with kidney donation despite donor raising funds online

Long story short: woman in need of kidney posts a sign on a car, seen by a stranger who agrees to donate and is compatible. Then he uses social media to raise some money to pay his expenses, and raises more than he anticipated. Hospital delays surgery, worrying that maybe he's breaking the law against getting "valuable consideration" for his donation, but eventually goes ahead. Both donor and recipientt are doing well.

Maine man sees plea on car window, to donate kidney to stranger
Maine donor says kidney transplant OK'd for next week
"Joshua Dall-Leighton of Windham said the surgery will take place June 16 at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Hospital spokeswoman Matt Paul confirmed on Monday that the living kidney donation is scheduled for that day.
"Dall-Leighton responded to the plea for a donor on South Portland resident Christine Royles' car. But the surgery was delayed by medical and legal hurdles, including crowdsourced donations to Dall-Leighton aimed at defraying his expenses. Paul said those concerns have been addressed.
"Hospital officials said in April they needed time to determine if the donation violated the National Organ Transplant Act, which forbids potential donors from profiting from a donation. A crowdfunding website set up for the donation has raised more than $49,000. Royles also organized fundraisers to pay bills and reimburse Dall-Leighton's time away from work.
"Paul said an external legal review confirmed that the transplant "will comply with federal laws that are designed to regulate organ transplants and protect living donors."

From Bill of Health: Fundraising and the Delayed Kidney Transplantation: A Loophole in the Ban against Commercialization?

And here's the happy ending
Car-window wish for kidney rewarded: Maine woman receives lifesaving transplant--Both patient and donor are reported to be doing well after surgery, capping an unusual story of strangers and sacrifice.

"Josh Dall-Leighton, 30, a corrections officer at the Southern Maine Re-entry Center in Alfred, saw the sign on Royles’ car last fall and immediately contacted her.

“He saw that sign and said, ‘I need to do this,’ ” his wife said.

Royles, whose kidney failure was caused by an autoimmune disease, was placed on a waiting list of more than 100,000 in need of kidney transplants in 2014, but decided to try to find a donor on her own.

The surgery was almost derailed after a GoFundMe effort raised nearly $50,000 for the couple. The account was set up by a friend of Josh Dall-Leighton with a goal of raising $6,000 to cover expenses for the six weeks he was expected to take off work to recover from the surgery.

But after a story about the transplant was published in the Press Herald and was widely picked up by other media outlets, the donations far exceeded the original goal.

Maine Medical Center put the potential transplant on hold until lawyers could sort out legal and ethical issues regarding the large sum of money. Federal and international laws prohibit the sale of organs, but hospital officials have said it was clear that there was no intent to profit from donating the organ.

Last week the hospital announced that the donation was not a legal impediment, and the surgery would go forward.

“If we didn’t have as strong a voice about this as we did, I don’t believe we would be here right now,” Ashley Dall-Leighton said.

She has said they are considering donating the money to a kidney foundation and the neonatal intensive care unit at Maine Med, where their twins were patients when they were born. They wanted to wait until after the surgery and recovery period to have a true accounting of their expenses – as opposed to an estimate – before determining how much and where to donate, she said."

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