After John Oliver's riff on dialysis, local man shares his experience as a living donor

PHILLY | Adam Tetrus

Kidney disease isn’t sexy. Dialysis is totally misunderstood. ESRD sounds like a college radio station.

I’m talking about End Stage Renal Disease. In spite of being the ninth leading cause of death in the U.S., people don’t talk about renal disease. Unless you’re John Oliver.

John Oliver, the political talk-show host of “Last Week Tonight”, has a gift. He can take the most snooze-inducing topics and present them with the frivolity of goats screaming through the chorus of a Taylor Swift song. He did just that on a recent episode of “Last Week Tonight,” devoting an entire segment to the business of kidney dialysis.

“I know that right now you’re probably getting ready to push the button on your TV remote marked ‘Dear God Literally Anything Else’,” he began before launching into an examination of the single health issue that accounts for 1 percent of our federal budget.

Later in the segment, Oliver mentions “truly amazing people” who donate their own healthy kidney to help combat the kidney shortage. That caught my attention. I did that.

A little over six months ago, I donated my left kidney at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to my closest friend, Octavius. At the age of 34, Octavius had stage 4 kidney disease, was nearing the necessity of dialysis and was facing the imminent possibility of death. Thanks to my left kidney, he is now healthy and expecting his first child with his wife Alexis. Continue reading


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