'Interlaced Fingers' Traces Roots Of Racial Disparity In Kidney Transplants (Podcast)

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO | Michel Martin
Dr. Vanessa Grubbs and Robert Phillips at their wedding in August 2005. Just a few months earlier, when his kidneys were failing, she gave him one of hers.Courtesy of Vanessa Grubbs
While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

Their relationship brought Grubbs face to face with the dilemmas of kidney transplantation — and the racial biases she found to be embedded in the way donated kidneys are allocated. Robert Phillips, who eventually became her husband, had waited years for a transplant; Grubbs ended up donating one of her own kidneys to him. And along the way she found a new calling as a nephrologist — a kidney doctor.

Her candid new memoir, Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers: A Kidney Doctor's Search for the Perfect Match, explores her personal story and some troubling statistics. Roughly 1 in 3 of the candidates awaiting kidney transplants are African American, Grubbs learned, but they receive only about 1 in 5 of all donated kidneys. White people account for about a third of the candidates awaiting kidney transplants, but they receive every other donated kidney.

Grubbs writes of accompanying Phillips in 2004 to meet with members of the transplantation team — including a doctor, a nurse and a financial counselor — for a routine evaluation and update. After being on the waiting list for a kidney for five years, he had neared the top of the list. Continue reading

__________________________________________________

You have the power to SAVE lives.  Register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor
Go to: RegisterMe.org   |   Social Media Declaration: #OrganDonor
To ensure your gift is honored, share your donation wishes with family and friends
__________________________________________________

Comments