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Organ Donation

In Episode 6 of our Chiropractical podcast, we speak with Dr. Gerry Clum about his experience searching for a kidney donor. While his is a very personal story, the topic of organ donation is a larger one that deserves some attention. The estimated time to find a kidney donor is 3 to 5 years! Casting a wider net for possible donors expands the opportunity to save a life – or 2.

Organ Donation Q & A

What types of organs can be donated by a living donor?

One kidney, a lung, or a portion of the liver, pancreas, or intestine. Donors can also donate bone marrow, blood stem cells, blood, or platelets.

Who can be a living donor?

There are general criteria to be a donor beyond being a good match. The donor should be in good physical health, between 18 and 60 years old, and should not have had certain diseases or medical conditions such as cancer, heart or kidney disease. A history of kidney stones, or sleep apnea, will typically disqualify a kidney donor. There can be other exclusionary criteria for other donation types.

What impact does donating have on the donor?

Before the donation happens, doctors perform a thorough evaluation to be sure there will be no adverse physical or psychological impacts to the donor from the donation event. A single kidney does the necessary work to remove waste from the body.

What if you don’t match with the person you’re trying to help?

You can still help! For example, a process called paired kidney exchange makes it possible that even if a donated kidney doesn’t go to the person that inspired the donor to be tested, that person will still get the donation they need if the donor provides an organ to someone who is a better physical match. There’s a special database that manages those in need and the donors available so the right matches can be found.

How much does it cost to be a donor?

There are costs before, during, and after the actual transplant surgery including transportation, testing, hospital stay, and medications. Costs are the responsibility of the recipient, not the donor. These costs are typically covered by the recipient’s insurance.

What is the time commitment to be a donor?

You’ll need to be tested, which can require travel time to the donation hospital. Surgical techniques are becoming better and faster, so many kidney donors, for example, are out of the hospital in two days and back to work in two weeks. 

What’s next?

If you’d like to learn more, visit OrganDonor.gov. If you’d like to be tested to potentially be a donor, connect with a local or national donation organization to learn more and to be added to the registry. You can also build awareness with your friends, families and patients of the need and importance of organ donation.

For Dr. Clum’s full story, tune in to the latest episode of Chiropractical, available wherever you get your podcasts.

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