Can You Spare a Kidney?

Science has technically triumphed over kidney transplant and failure over the last half century. People who develop kidney failure now have a chance of living a healthy and a normal life despite failure of one or both kidneys through a transplant. Using advanced technology for kidney transplant, a recipient and a donor only need to share the same blood type as anti-rejection drugs and surgeons handle the rest. Relative to demand, there is a well-known deficiency in organ supply. Studies show that unlike kidney transplant from a deceased donor, live donation provides superior results including fewer immunologic complications, and a better rate of graft success. Notably, a living donation only takes place when a person is willing to allow the removal of a kidney in order to be transplanted into another person. Mostly, living donors are friends or family members of the patient. However, there have lately been anonymous selfless donors who are willing to donate their kidneys freely. However, there are a couple of considerations taken prior to living donation (Adams, 2012, p. 225). These potential donors are rigorously evaluated both psychologically and physically. In addition to that ethical consideration, these donors must consent to donation voluntarily. Secondly, with live donation, it is found that close relatives of the patient are the best donors because the results are excellent and enduring. A donor must be in a position to give his/her free consent to the donation to be considered ethically accepted. This agreement must be signed after the donor accepts the risks and benefits of donating the kidney. Lastly, although living donors represent the biggest source of kidney transplantation, contributors are at high risk, and this violates medical rules which are against doing harm. The contributor is also at risk of complexities or malfunctioning of the left kidney after donation. By declaring organ donation choice on driver’s license, one disadvantage of a legal mandate is that some donors make blind declarations. For instance, some declaration in the form of well structured and completed organ donor card are done without mutual consent, this results to misunderstanding later on prior or after transplantation. Such cases are a result of allowing opinions of the family to override the patient’s autonomy which in most cases prevents donation. However, the advantage of a legal mandate to declare organ donation choice on driver’s licenses is that, any mentally competent person of 18 years and over has a right to assign irrespective of his/her wishes to transplant after or before death (Casey, 2011, p. 8).

Under law, it is specified that approval of the donor’s relatives is of no use in this circumstances because the authority cannot undo the wishes of the donor. Such protocol is important as it clarifies the wishes of the donor and the patient as well regarding donation. Notably, the discrepancy between the number of people requiring available organs and kidney transplants is caused by considerations such as the genetic type (HLA type) and the match between the recipient and donor blood groups. Secondly, it is recommended that when receiving transfusion, blood which is being received must be a compatible type with a donor’s, failure to which allergic reactions will occur. Therefore, the discrepancy between the number of people requiring kidney transplants and available organs is caused by matching of blood groups, and other considerations such as genetic types (HLA) (Mandell, 2006, p. 12). A professional nurse has a role of kidney donation is to identify potential donors and contact appropriate sources to verify the patient’s eligibility for organ donation. Nurses have a special connection to potential donors and families. Primarily, a professional nurse must be familiar with the donation criteria and types of donation, contact organ bank and local tissue to determine the eligibility, know the agency, and be in a position to discuss the possibility of donation with a doctor or a physician. A nurse has to be familiar with every type of transplantation in order to better inform the donor and the family all possibilities.


Adams, J. J. (2012). Brave new worlds: Dystopian stories. San Francisco, Calif: Night Shade        Books.

Casey, M. J., & Meier-Kriesche, H. U. (2011). Calcineurin inhibitors in kidney transplantation:     friend or foe?. Current opinion in nephrology and hypertension, 20(6), 610-615.

Mandell, M. S., Zamudio, S., Seem, D., McGaw, L. J., Wood, G., Liehr, P., … & D’Alessandro,   A. M. (2006). National evaluation of healthcare provider attitudes toward organ donation            after cardiac death*. Critical care medicine, 34(12), 2952-2958.