New York Times | Kate YandellMichael Hanson for The New York Times MOTIVATED Ed Guillen lost 90 pounds to be eligible for a pre-donation screening, and gave a kidney to his mother.
When his mother’s kidneys began to fail three years ago, Ed Guillen knew what he had to do: donate one of his kidneys to her. But Mr. Guillen received a shock during a phone call with the Stanford Kidney Transplant Clinic, where his mother was being treated. He was ineligible to be a donor, even before tests to see if he was a genetic match.
At 5-foot-10 and around 280 pounds, Mr. Guillen, a 39-year-old software developer in Redmond, Wash., was considered too heavy to donate an organ without potentially endangering his own health. He would need to lose more than 70 pounds, he was told, before the clinic would consider him as a candidate.
Add one more unexpected consequence of Americans’ expanding waistlines: A growing number of potential organ donors are ineligible to donate because of their weight.
“It’s an ongoing struggle that I think every transplant center has to deal with,” said Dr. Sandra Taler, a nephrologist at the Mayo Clinic who studies the health of living transplant donors. Rising obesity has spurred a small but growing effort to pay closer attention to the health of obese donors, whose risks are still incompletely understood.