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Living Kidney Donors Network is a non-profit organization offering help to those in need of a kidney transplant in their pursuit of living donation. LKDN also helps those who are interested in being a living kidney donor.
 

May 2014
Living Kidney Donors Network 
Compensating Kidney Donors

The only way to increase the number of kidney transplants is through more deceased and/or living donations. There have been many suggestions on how to increase the number of kidney transplants. Two of those proposals have received much attention. One which claims it will increase the number of deceased donors is presumed consent, where upon your death you are assumed to be an organ donor unless you previously opted out. The other is to  compensate kidney donors. I'll discuss the compensation issue this month and presumed consent next month.

Much has been written, pro and con regarding the compensation question, but thus far no one has developed a comprehensive proposal for a regulated system in the United States. Iran has a State sponsered living donor compensation system in place. As strange as this may sound, they have a waiting list for donors. However, the culture in Iran is very different than in the United States.

An excellent book by Sigrid Fry-Revere describes the Iranian system. Sigrid is the only American to travel to Iran to investigate and interview hundreds of recipients, donors, physicians, nurses and administrators of their transplant system. The book is called "The Kidney Sellers" and is available at Amazon. 

For the post 2 months I've been working with a organization to develop a position statement on compensating living kidney donors. The organization is called the Chicago Transplant Ethics Consortium. (CTEC) http://sites.surgery.northwestern.edu/ctec/index.htm CTEC feels that at this time it is ethical to do a study on compensating donors and is in the process of drafting such a document. 

What I've found in working with CTEC is how many difficult questions need to be answered to develop a plan to compensate living donors. Developing such a policy will be very difficult and there's a large group of people who find the concept "repugnant." They intentionally use this word because of the strong negative feeling it conveys. 

Here are a few recent articles about compensating organ donors, both pro and con.

Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of "When Altruism Isn't Enough" writes about "Why People Don't Donate Their Kidneys."
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/opinion/sunday/why-people-dont-donate-their-kidneys.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

A University of Wisconsin doctor supports providing subsidized or free health insurance for living kidney donors.

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/05/save-a-life-and-get-a-new-bellybutton/361711/

A Nobel Prize winning economist from the University of Chicago and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution describe how compensating donors will increase the number of kidney transplants.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304149404579322560004817176
Wesley Smith is a lawyer and author and writes that the government should not compensate kidney donors.

http://www.nationalreview.com/human-exceptionalism/377207/government-should-not-induce-kidney-supplying-wesley-j-smith
Help for your Kidney Kampaign
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Recent Inspirational Stories

Would you like to read more inspirational stories? Then sign up for Google Alerts. Do a search for: "how to get Google Alerts" and you'll find simple instructions. You'll need to put in key words, i.e. kidney transplants, living donations, etc. and stories will be emailed to you. If you find one you'd like to share then post it on the LKDN Facebook page.

Hand written sign on her back telling of her story results in catching the eye of donor.
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/health/2014/04/22/gift-life-sign-chance-meeting-lead-organ-donation/7996201/

Glen Burnie waitress donates kidney to 2 year old boy
http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2014-04-18/news/bs-md-ar-kidney-donor-20140414_1_kidney-failure-kidney-disease-kidney-match

School worker donates to stranger.
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/school-worker-donates-kidney-to-save-a-total-stranger/ 

What's happening on the LKDN Facebook page?

Within the next few days we will have 7,000 Facebook followers. Thank you for your continued support. Remember, every week we change our cover picture. If you want to honor your donor or recipient please send your JPEG picture and story to pic@LKDN.org so we can feature you!
 

Videos & Books

A Transplant for Katy depicts the dramatic efforts to save a star patient – and the reputation of the world’s leading transplant center, where patients from as far as Egypt and Libya came in search of a miracle.
A Transplant for Katy is the heartbreaking saga of a former homecoming queen who never realized she was expected to revolutionize medicine.
The book can be purchased on amazon.com or directly from the website. www.transplantforkaty.com
Luis Fabregas | Medical Editor
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
 

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Harvey Mysel

I’m a two time kidney transplant recipient and founder of the non-profit organization Living Kidney Donors Network. I started LKDN after my first kidney transplant in 2007; my wife Amy was my donor. I’d known about my kidney ailment, PKD a genetic condition, for 20 years. One and a half years after my transplant, I contracted a virus that attacks the kidney. I  was told in January 2012  I needed another transplant. I was very fortunate to receive a kidney from Stephen Liegghio in August 2012. To learn more about Harvey Mysel: Click Here
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