The Doctors share that approximately 5,000 people die every year waiting for a kidney transplant, so why are thousands of donated kidneys being discarded and they question if we are too quick to get rid of organs that could save a life?
Urologist Dr. Jeffrey Veale, from the UCLA Kidney Transplant Exchange program, joins us to share why around 3500 donated kidneys, considered to be lower quality, are discarded annually.
Dr. Veale says one of the reasons why so many kidneys in America are discarded could be due to obesity, which can lead to blocked arteries in the organ, making them not viable for donation. Despite America's obesity problem, Dr. Veale notes that we have one of the highest organ donation rates in the world and says last year there were approximately 20,000 kidney donations. He also notes that transplant centers are held to a high standard in America which can lead to avoiding high-risk organs. Dr. Veale says a "marginal kidney" might not be accepted because of the fear it might not be functioning in 3 years, which could lead to the center being shut down.
So who decides when a kidney should not be accepted? Dr. Veale explains the center and its team usually makes this call after looking at a slew of metrics surrounding the organ's health.
The Doctors applaud the transplant centers and transplant surgeons across the country for their diligent and important work. Also, the panel stresses how important it is to inform your loved ones about your wishes regarding organ donation in the event of your death.