Monday, July 6, 2015

Imminent death organ donation could help others, stir distrust

Wisconsin State Journal | David Wahlberg

Buy Now Wayne inside with JoJean checking his IV Assistive devices on Wayne Bender’s wheelchair allow him to convert it into a bed, move it around his home and talk on the phone. JoJean Homme, a caregiver from Angels Loving Care, checks his intravenous line. Assistive devices on Bender's wheelchair allow him to convert the chair into a bed, move the chair around his home and talk on the phone. JoJean Homme, a caregiver from Angels Loving Care, checks his intravenous line.

Wayne Bender is dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which destroys muscle but leaves people mentally aware.

He wants to donate a kidney or all of his organs, considered healthy despite his disease, and help others live.

But doctors say regular living donation is too risky because Bender, of Madison, is too ill. He almost certainly won’t become brain dead, which is typically required for donation upon death. He could donate his organs after his heart stops — an alternative known as circulatory death donation — but might not die quickly enough for the organs to be usable.

A controversial proposal could help patients like Bender: imminent death donation.

The concept, being discussed by transplant doctors, would allow people in late stages of terminal illnesses or with severe, irreversible brain injuries to donate a kidney — and potentially other organs — just before they or their families plan to withdraw life support. Continue reading

 

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