Kidney Donation and Voucher Program Saves Lives

When someone’s kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it usually leads to dialysis treatments. And it can have an impact on quality of life and longevity. Medicine, dialysis, and lifestyle changes can only help the body survive so long without properly functioning kidneys.

And if you reach a point where a kidney transplant is your only option for survival, you’ll have to get in line. An estimated 100,000 people are on a waiting list for a kidney transplant, and an average of 13 people a day die because a compatible kidney isn’t located in time.

And that just doesn’t seem right. That’s what retired Judge Howard Broadman thought when his four-year-old grandson was diagnosed with a kidney problem that would require a transplant. So he donated a kidney to help someone else, along with a proposal that doing so would move his grandson to the front of the wait list for a matching donor kidney. ¬†

Broadman’s idea prompted the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to create a voucher program to encourage kidney donation. It’s called the Give a Kidney, Get a Kidney Voucher Program. Now 10 hospitals across the U.S. have adopted the program. And Broadman’s four-year-old grandson will be able to get a transplant when it’s time.

Can a program like this really have an impact on treating people with kidney failure? Absolutely. Dr. Jeffrey Veale at the UCLA Medical Center says that if only one-half of one-percent of adults in the U.S. donated a kidney to obtain a transplant voucher for a family member, it would quickly eliminate the waiting list for a kidney transplant.

“As a transplant surgeon, I’m invigorated by the prospect of what this voucher program could mean,” says Veale. “This could be our only realistic shot at eliminating the waiting list for kidney¬† transplants.”

If you’re on dialysis, or care for someone who is, it’s important to keep those appointments, and follow doctor’s orders. An important part of managing your health when you’re on dialysis also includes managing your diet. If you need a little help figuring out what to eat when you’ve living with kidney disease, check out the great selection of Dialysis-Friendly meals.