JAMA Internal Medicine: Nearly 3,500 donated kidneys are discarded every year

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 8:13 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - This is Jerome Scalisi, he has been waiting for a kidney transplant now for over 4 years. He says out of the over 93,000 people in the country waiting on a kidney transplant, he is hopeful his will come soon.

"The waiting period is 4 and a half to five years and longer depending on the availability,” Scalisi said. “It's just a waiting game is what it is."

But a recent report by JAMA Internal Medicine says at least 3,500 donated kidneys are discarded every year. Joey Boudreaux, Chief Clinical Officer with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA, says it’s mainly because of the condition of some of the kidneys being donated.

“So some of these have a decline to the point where they are not transplant-able and that’s where the challenge comes in,” Boudreaux said.

He says some kidneys could be less ideal for transplant because of things like hypertension and diabetes, and other diseases.

“Most of those, at least a large portion of those are not transplant-able, but maybe there are some of those that would benefit a patient for at least a little bit longer,” Boudreaux said.

That's why Boudreaux says he is excited about a possible reform coming to the way the U.S. handles kidney transplants. Just this past July, President Trump signing an executive order to do just that.

"We here at LOPA are so excited that so much attention is being brought from the White House to make things a little easier for kidneys to save as many lives as possible," Boudreaux said.

Scalisi says in the mean time, he will continue being patient waiting for his turn.

“There is just such a demand for them, that’s why it’s taken such a long time,” Scalisi said. “So all we have to do is wait. I’m waiting, patiently, anxiously, and hopeful.”

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