Sunday, June 19, 2016

Kidney donations by family members on the decline

In this photo from April 2015, Tom Traill, left, takes in a Pirates game with his son Nick, right. About 3 weeks later, Tom Traill successfully donated a kidney to Nick.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | Sean D. Hamill

When doctors told Tom Traill in 2014 that his then 29-year-old son, Nick, was in kidney failure, he was stunned.

But when they said the option to most quickly restore Nick’s health was to get a living family member to donate a kidney, he didn’t hesitate.

“I just wanted to get it done. Whatever it took to get him healthy,” Tom Traill, 54, of North Huntingdon, said this past week, just over a year since surgeons at Allegheny General Hospital successfully took one of his kidneys and transplanted it in his son a couple weeks before Father’s Day, 2015. “Not a second thought.”

Tom Traill and his family may not have given it a second thought — his wife and older son also offered their kidneys to Nick but were not good matches — but more people are.

In a trend that has lasted more than a decade, 39 percent fewer family members — parents, children, siblings or other blood-related family — are donating one of their kidneys to a relative in need of a transplant. The dramatic turn that began in 2004 has worried and perplexed transplant experts in study after study. Continue reading
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