Kidneys discarded while patients wait

While working on our recent series about groups that recover organs for transplantation, Luis Fabregas and I noticed that a lot of kidneys go unused. Taxpayers pay for them anyway. We ran the numbers and came up with this story.

At the same time, UNOS, the group that sets the rules for organ transplantation has made a change that responds to an issue we raised in 2009. Doctors who run dialysis centers were not telling patients about transplant options. Under the new rules, when this happens, patients will at least get time toward a new kidney. This story explains the change.

Joyce Biearman, 57 of Wheeling, West Virginia gets dialysis at Wheeling Dialysis Center Wednesday, March 26, 2014.  Biearman is on the organ donor list waiting for a kidney.

Joyce Biearman, 57, has been waiting on a kidney for three years. Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review

Every time the phone rings, Joyce Biearman wonders whether there’s a kidney waiting for her. Continue reading