More than 90,000. people in the United States wait for a donation of a kidney. Dr. Aleksandra gmurczyk, however, helped remove two people from the waiting list when she donated her kidney to a woman that she had never met. She also launched a kidney-paired donor.
When a person wants to donate a kidney but is not a good match with the recipient, they switch them out for another donor.
According to Northwestern Medicine where the doctor works, Gmurczyk donated his kidney in February to a Virginia woman who had kidneys that were 'hard-to-match'. The husband of that patient, who was not the right match for his spouse, donated his kidney to another Northwestern Medicine patient.
Gmurczyk is a nephrologist at Northwestern Medicine and an associate professor. She felt that a kidney-paired gift would allow her to help many more people.
According to the National Institutes of Health, in 2020, 22 817 kidney transplants will be performed across the United States due to conditions such as kidney failure or disease. According to the National Kidney Foundation, it usually takes three to five years to match a patient with a donor kidney.
Before, doctors have donated their kidneys to former patients. According to Maine Health's website, Dr. Aji Ajamali, the chair of Maine Medical Center's Department of Medicine, donated his own kidney to an ex-patient last year.
According to the obituary of Dr. Susan Hou in the American Society of Nephrology, she donated a kidney to a recipient in 2002.
Gmurczyk donated to educate patients.
She sees many patients with kidney failure. This means that their kidneys are unable to filter out waste and toxins from their bloodstream. Many patients undergo dialysis - a treatment that removes waste and excess fluids from their blood.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, although treatment depends on the level needed, dialysis usually takes place three times per week for four hours each time.
Gmurczyk stated that it was like working part-time. It is stressful and sad. They feel lonely and isolated. Many can work but not all.
Some of her patients, despite the long waiting list for donors, are still hesitant to undergo a transplant due to things such as mistrust in the healthcare system or the donation requirements.
Gmurczyk started thinking about this nine years ago. She donated one of her kidneys in order to increase trust and encourage others to donate.
She said: "I wanted to donate because I could go to them and tell them, 'I gave my kidney. I believe people who get a kidney transplant have a longer and healthier life. I believed in this so strongly that I donated."
Gmurczyk states that kidneys donated by living donors can begin functioning immediately and last twice as long as donations made by deceased donors.
She joined a kidney donation pool and this led to the model of paired kidneys.
Gmurczyk’s donor journey began after she was matched to the Virginia woman. This included things like kidney function testing and abdomen screenings in order to locate the smaller kidney that is donated.
Her team of care included a nephrologist as well as a pharmacist and surgeon. A social worker, a donor advocate, and a social work were also part of the team.
Donor advocates ensure that donors do not receive any payment or coercion to undergo the procedure. Social workers assist donors in establishing the best social support at home to ensure they are well taken care of after the procedure.
Gmurczyk stated that 'people who receive a transplant require a person to provide them with social support. Many people don't even have a person available to assist them after the surgery.
Gmurczyk was able to walk home after her surgery. A friend helped her to get there.
She said, "I was able take care of my pet the next day." "I was doing it all myself."
She returned to work after two weeks of leave without any issues.