Organ transplants advance, but process remains difficult, waiting lists long and donors — living and deceased — limited
WASHINGTON — Brenda Hudson recalls weeks spent in a glass-enclosed isolation room after her first kidney transplant, her family allowed to visit only when suited up against germs.
That transplant lasted a remarkable four decades — and now Hudson’s recovery from a second one, this time faster and surrounded by germy visitors, showcases how far organ transplants have come and the hurdles that still await.
“I’m ready to be well again,” Hudson exclaimed before being wheeled into an operating room at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital last month, far more confident than back at age 17 when she was that hospital’s first recipient of a living-donor kidney.
Transplants still require courage, but medical advances haven’t just helped patients. Hudson’s initial donor, her older sister, has a scar stretching from belly to side where doctors cut into her rib cage. This time Hudson’s husband donated, and went home two days after surgeons squeezed his kidney through a roughly 3-inch incision.
Hudson’s own lupus-damaged kidneys were removed about a month before her first transplant. That’s hardly ever done anymore — nonworking kidneys shrink to make room. Continue reading
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