Think About It: Kidney Care - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

February 19, 2015

Think About It: Kidney Care

Organ donations. A touchy subject, especially in Hawaii. There are about 450 people on the kidney transplant waiting list in Hawaii, which makes Hawaii the highest per capita state for the need for donors. At times, nearly one in three people on that list here is a child, some of whom won't make it to adulthood without a transplant.

Kidney donations from live donors have dwindled in Hawaii over the past decade, and the need for exact matching donors with our genetic bouillabaisse sometimes means that we can't wait for kidneys from afar, compounded by the fact that mainland medical transplant teams don't want to risk the long flight required to send us out-of-state donations. With fewer traumatic deaths here than elsewhere, there are simply fewer available kidneys in general for transplant purposes. 

Hawaii has a high rate of diabetes and hypertension, both destroyers of kidneys, so sadly the need here will remain high. Transplanted kidney recipients from living donors tend to live twice as long as recipients from deceased donors. The laparoscopic donor surgery allows the life-saving giver to go home in a day or two, as the donor's other healthy kidney takes over complete kidney functions. The donor pays nothing for his or her efforts. And if a donor should ever need a kidney, he or she moves to the top of the transplant list because they gave of themselves in such a huge way to help save another person's life. No, it's not for everyone. It is a life-changing event, for everyone involved. It gives real meaning to the term "lifesaver". It's your call, of course, and perhaps an opportunity for you to think about it…

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