Kidney Blogging, Cont'd
Kathryn Fiegen of the Iowa City Press-Citizen has written a nicely reported piece, using a striking local example to illustrate the importance of living kidney donors.
Yolanda Frudden, 52, of Iowa City, transports lab results at University Hospitals. Kathy Duttlinger, 50, of Iowa City, takes care of the plants in the hospital. They seldom saw each other, except in the hallway or in the elevator.
But one day a little more than a year ago, a ride together in the elevator would change both of their lives forever.
Frudden had just gotten to the end of a rope of bad news. She recently had been diagnosed with kidney disease and was searching through her family to find a match for transplant. Both of her brothers were perfect matches. However, both had a form of hepatitis. On that day, she had just returned from a trip to the Philippines, where one of her brothers lives with her family "I was really desperate," she said. "I was actually in tears."
Duttlinger got on the elevator and asked what was wrong. She said she knew Frudden was sick, but not as sick as she actually was.
"I just felt for her, and I thought maybe I could help her," she said.
Within minutes, Duttlinger had offered Frudden her phone number--and one of her kidneys
Fiegen's article is exemplary for reporting the story long enough after the surgery--which took place in January 2006--to let readers know the results. More than a year later, both donor and recipient are doing well. And Iowa is better than most places to be a living donor, especially if you're a state employee. The state's Donor Network, which allocates organs from deceased donors, actively support living donation, and living donors get a state income tax deduction. So they're less likely to wind up financially behind, because of lost wages, than donors elsewhere.
Because Duttlinger works at University Hospitals, she got five weeks of leave for being an organ donor, and Frudden's insurance paid for both procedures.
[Iowa Donor Network spokesman Paul] Sodders said all state employees get six weeks of paid leave to donate, without cutting into vacation time. The network currently is working with other major employers to see if they will draft similar policies, he said. Iowa also is one of the few states that offer a tax deduction of up to $10,000 for living donors.
"We're trying to make the process as easy as we can on these living donors," he said. "We're really beginning to advocate people being living donors because we really think that is the answer to cutting down on the waiting time."
Bravo to the Donor Network and the state of Iowa for their progressive attitudes--and to Kathryn Fiegen for covering this important issue.