A basic Google search of the daily news will typically yield at least one story a day about living organ donation, often in small, community newspapers that still devote ample “ink” to telling stories about the humanity that surrounds them. (The daily appearance of these stories isn’t surprising, given that there are roughly 17 living donor kidney transplants a day in the U.S., and another one or so living donor liver transplants a day. )
But I especially love when I find living donor stories ekeing their way into the the really big papers, the ones that more often devote their precious page space to stories to major topics of broad national interest, like economic collapses, wars, famine, hurricane damage, and the popularity of Sarah Palin’s eye glasses. So hooray to the Wall Street Journal for this September 23 story on pay-it-forward, “daisy chain” kidney donations, such as one that just happened at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. I’ve written about this topic before… one potential donor, not a match for his or her loved one, goes ahead and donates anyway, to a stranger who does match. This in turn inspires someone who loves that stranger to donate to another one, and on and on as people get the organs they need and get off of the waiting list.
As I watch with interest a seeming decline in the number of living donation surgeries around the United States, and an ever-growing list of transplant candidates in need, this kind of story gives me hope. This quote from the WSJ story suggests it gives hope to the medical community as well:
“This is one of the most exciting things I’ve been involved with in 30 years in this field.” – Gabriel Danovitch, director of UCLA’s kidney and pancreas transplant program
Props to Troy, my good friend who works at the Wall Street Journal, for the heads up on this one!