Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Gift-giving cycles: kidney exchange stories from Britain and Israel

The Guardian has a podcast about a British kidney exchange involving three patient-donor pairs. They call it a "chain" but they mean a cycle--it's a cycle of gift giving. You can listen at the link.

Would you give your kidney to a stranger?
The UK’s living donor scheme allows six people to enter a chain, and three of them will get a new kidney from a stranger. Rachel Williams speaks to six participants. 

"The UK’s living donor scheme allows six people to enter a chain, and three of them will get a new kidney from a stranger. Such chains are anonymous but, for the first time, the Guardian’s Rachel Williams has brought together six participants.

In today’s episode, we hear from those giving and receiving a kidney, and Williams explains how the matches are made possible. "


And from YNet, a story of a non-directed donor who became a directed donor and part of a cycle with four patient-donor pairs:

The kidney club: Doctors at Beilinson Hospital performed an extraordinary 8-way kidney surgery involving 4 donors and 4 recipients brought together by Matnat Chaim, dedicated to encouraging altruistic kidney donations.

the 4 recipients
"The transplant chain was facilitated by Matnat Chaim, an Israeli non-profit dedicated to encouraging healthy volunteers to donate kidneys to patients requiring a transplant. The organization, which has already facilitated 626 transplants to date, was founded in 2007 by Rabbi Yeshayahu Heber after he found himself needing a kidney, finding a donor and then setting out to help others who were in the same predicament.

"This kidney donor chain began with altruistic donor Benjamin, who donated to a man named Lee. Yardena, Lee’s partner, in turn donated a kidney to a woman named Leah, whose son, Yonatan, donated a kidney to a man named Suheib. Suheib’s mother, Maison, then donated her kidney to a woman named Gil—who was meant to be the original recipient of the kidney donated by Benjamin.

""I approached Matnat Chaim Chairman Rabbi Heber and asked him to help me find a kidney donor," said Gil, 36, adding, "to my delight, Benjamin, a person I don’t even know, agreed to donate his kidney … unfortunately though he wasn’t a match.

"After tests conducted by doctors at Beilinson ahead of the planned cross-transplant, a possibility arose for Gil to be at the receiving end of a new kidney.

"We have all become like family," Gil continued, “All of us are from a different background—religious, secular, right and left-wing, Jews and Arabs—there is now a special connection between us."

See my previous posts on Matnat Chaim

Gift giving rings have for some reason reminded me today of the anthropological literature on gift giving in cycles through Kula rings in New Guinea, studied by the early anthropologist/ethnographer BronisÅ‚aw Malinowski.

Merry Xmas to all of you for whom today (or yesterday) is a day of gift giving.

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