A few days ago I reposted an article from the Washington Post written by Michael Poulson, who had regretted donated a kidney at age 18. Here is a “Letter to the Editor” from a living donor, Macey Henderson, who at age 24, donated a kidney to her 36-year-old cousin. To what might we attribute the difference in their attitudes?
When I was 24, I gave a kidney to my 36-year-old cousin who had been on dialysis for two years, and I have no regrets.
I respect Michael Poulson’s lifesaving kidney donation and his desire to better understand the risks of donating, but aspects of his article were misinformed.
As a research scientist who actively studies risk after living donation, I can report that data show that more than 95 percent of donors are satisfied with their donation decision.
I am not scared about the risk of kidney failure after donating. Mr. Poulson stated that we do not know how many people donate and how many of them develop kidney failure, but that was incorrect: There are national data sources for both of these, and research has been published based on almost 100,000 donors showing that kidney failure risk after donating is a tiny 0.3 percent.
I spend my days thinking not of my remaining kidney but of ways to design a better transplant system, in which live donor care is optimized.
Macey Henderson, Gaithersburg
The writer is a member of the national
transplant network (United Network for
Organ Sharing) Living Donor Committee.
The views expressed are her own.