Presentation on theme: "Live Donation: A Promise Kept How My Sister and I Saved Each Other Jill Fredel, DHSS, Director of Communications Delaware Health Care Commission, June."— Presentation transcript:
Live Donation: A Promise Kept How My Sister and I Saved Each Other Jill Fredel, DHSS, Director of Communications Delaware Health Care Commission, June 6, 2013
My Sister’s Need In 2001, Ellen’s gallbladder, which was infected, had severely damaged her liver. Near death, she received a liver transplant. Five years later, the anti- rejection medications severely damaged her kidneys. In the hospital, I promised she could have one of mine.
Getting Ready In order to donate my kidney, I had to lose more than 50 pounds. That’s why I say Ellen saved me. After more than a year of weight loss, I underwent blood typing, EKG, chest X-ray, MRI, 24-hour urine collection, and consults with a surgeon, nephrologist & social worker. The transplant committee approved us, and my friends threw a Goodbye Kidney Party – complete with cake.
Donation Day On Oct. 7, 2008, I went first into surgery at Georgetown University Hospital. Three laproscopic incisions – a 3-inch at my belly button, a 1-inch one above that and another 1-inch one on my left side. In the 3-hour surgery, my surgeon, Dr. Keith Melancon, took out my left kidney. The right one is less likely to be damaged in an accident.
Ellen Was Next The recipient’s surgery is more complex. My donated kidney joined Ellen’s 2 low- functioning kidneys in her body. In recovery, I had one question for my husband: Did it work? His answer: Yes!
Post-Surgery Recoveries Both of recoveries were quick. By Thursday, about 36 hours after surgery, I was out of the hospital. By the following Monday, I was working from home – thanks to a flexible employer. Ellen left the hospital a few days later. In a few weeks, I was back to 100%; so was Ellen. All of my medical care, including 2 years of follow-ups, was covered by the recipient’s insurer.
Questions I Am Asked What restrictions do you have? No boxing or rock climbing, tell medical providers I have only 1 kidney and avoid nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. What happens if your kidney fails? Normally, we use only 40% of 1 kidney, so my prospects are good and my life expectancy is no less. If my kidney fails, as a living donor, I would move to the top of the transplant list. Any regrets? Only that I don’t have another kidney to donate.
Going Forward Sadly, Ellen had an unrelated catastrophic medical emergency involving internal bleeding. She died Sept. 13, 2010, in the same hospital where the transplant took place. She would want me to speak out about the virtues of live organ donation – and the benefit to the recipients.
The Virtues of Live Donation
As of November, there were 631 Delawareans awaiting organ transplants, including 529 who needed a kidney. As policy makers, medical providers, insurers and other interested stakeholders, please do whatever is necessary to encourage live organ donation in Delaware – it will improve lives and save money. On behalf of organ recipients, you could give them and their families the ultimate gift.
We Thank You On behalf of all transplant recipients and their families, Ellen and I say thank you.