“Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation”: Take a Peek Inside

As we get so much closer to publication, we’re eager to share another peek at the book. Here’s an excerpt: the opening for chapter 1!


AN OHIO COUPLE transform their van into a cruising billboard, a woman in Pennsylvania posts her blood type on Facebook, a man offers thousands of dollars online . . . These are just a few of the ways people try to find living kidney donors in this country.

Why resort to such unusual steps? The answer is simple. Today more than thirty million Americans have chronic kidney disease. Nearly 100,000 of them are on national waiting lists for a kidney from a deceased donor. About every ten minutes another person is added to the list. Meanwhile, nearly half a million people, many of whom may never be able to have a transplant, receive dialysis.

With fewer than 25,000 kidney transplants performed each year—from both deceased and living donors—most of the people on the list wait several years for a kidney: up to five to ten years in some states. That means that at least sixteen people in the United States die every single day simply because they did not receive a kidney in time.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Kidney transplants are hardly new—surgeons have been performing them for more than half a century. So why are they still helping only a fraction of those in need?

No Simple Answers

The principal reason for the long wait and the tragic deaths that result is obviously a shortage of available kidneys. But numerous factors account for that shortage. In the United States, only about 3 out of every 1,000 people die in a way that makes traditional organ donation possible— typically in a hospital following an accident— so the pool is very small. . . .


For more information about The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation–and about donation, transplants, and kidney disease–be sure to check out the website and blog archives. And, of course, sign up to be notified when you can pre-order the book.

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