Your Health September 19, 2013 Can you donate your kidney? - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Your Health September 19, 2013 Can you donate your kidney?

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Birmingham, AL -


     Three month dialysis patient, Kathleen Clark Ojukuwo cried, "Who ever that person who wants to give me a kidney I don't know where you are but I want to live.  Please don't let me leave this place without a kidney I'm going through so many changes and I want to live."

     In late August, ABC 3340 viewers heard  55-year-old Kathleen Clark Ojukuwo's plea for a kidney to stay alive and many people wanted to help.

     Viewers emailed, texted and some called to generously offer a kidney. But they wanted to know more about what to do to find out it they're a match.
 
     Dr. Carlton Young is the Director of Pancreas Transplantation and Pediatric Kidney Transplantation at UAB since 1997.
     The surgeon leads a team of physicians and staff that treats and cares for children and adults waiting for transplants.
     He knows about the tremendous need for more living organ donors in our state.

Dr. Carlton Young, MD says, "As for the adults we have about 3,700 people waiting in Alabama. We're a little unique but in a bad way, in that diabetes and high blood pressure  are so endemic in our state that we have a disproportionate number of people with those diseases which subsequently end up with kidney failure and as a result even though we have a small population of about four and a half million people. We have the second longest waiting list in the entire country."

     Dr. Young says, "The wait times for a kidney is five to seven years; sometimes 10 to 12 years."

   He says, "The lady you mentioned who found out she has kidney disease is common.  The fact people want to give to help is wonderful. We a certain procedure they can go through. We have our patient care area that will speak to patients as they call in and go through a series of questions to see if they're suitable."

     UAB has an Altruistic program for people who want to give a kidney to the waiting list of 3700 adults or 30 children, out of the kindness of their heart, like 16 year old,  Antonius Banks.  The Jemison High School student is the youngest of the viewers who saw Kathleen's plea for life and called in wanting to donate one of his kidneys to her.
 Banks say, "When the lady said don't let me leave this earth without a kidney,  I just wanted to help. I would want someone to do that for me. That's what inspired me."
 Antonius' mother says, her son took immediately action.

  Dr. Young says, "All of our donors go through a very intense evaluation process to make sure they're fit mentally and physically in order to donate. We don't enter living donation lightly.  We want to make sure the patient donating is in the best shape possible and they're going to have a good outcome as well. We're just as concern about the donor as about our recipients.

      Dr Young says donating a kidney is safe. The risk of dying or have complication is less than one percent. That's why a suitable donor must be healthy.
 
     The interested viewers who cared enough to call and wanted to donate a kidney were varied in age and ethnicity.  African Americans and Caucasians. So, does the donor's race really matter?
 
Dr. Young says, "It doesn't matter. With the human genome project, they mapped the genome and folks are 99.9 similar.All the changes,
the difference we see in skin color, eye color, hair color are all made up by that point one percent. So, even though people think we are vastly different, we are all the same. We're one human race.

     Age does matter.
     Dr. Young says people under age 18 are not able to be living organ donors.

     However, Dr. Young agrees young people, like Antonius Banks still have a role... to raise awareness about the extreme need for organ donation, the prevalence of end stage renal or kidney disease and the children and adults who may die waiting for an organ.

      Dr. young offers encouragement to Kathleen Clark Ojukuwo and other courageous patients... waiting for a kidney transplant.

<SOT C2@ 18 36 Dr.>   I see lots and lots of patients who have an indomitable spirit  who are positive they go forward they take their medicine they do everything they need to do to keep themselves healthy enough in order for them to get transplanted when the time comes.  The best thing I say is don't give up! There are people who do care about you and people who are working very diligently to find good organs for you. It's hard; but, we are here to do our very best to try to take care of you and get you transplanted.

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