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KMBZ>Audio & Video on Demand>>E.J. and Ellen Cover Story on Organ Transplants

E.J. and Ellen Cover Story on Organ Transplants

Sep 15, 2016|

You can save a life by being an organ donor or it can even save yours one day.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

We turn to our cover story this morning the united network of organ sharing is considering making some changes. To how far organs can travel across the United States when they are donated. And it could I'd venture to say it will have an impact here. Possibly leading to longer wait times for some of our sickest folks. Caremark share begins our team coverage talking with a family whose daughter needed a transplant. At three months of age. Kay Granger was born with a rare condition where her liver wasn't pumping dangerous toxins out of her body so when doctors told her parents that she needed transplants. Were shocked that. That they downplay that they were very reassuring and made an outside the current wind seemed like. You know as a long term type thing he'd stand John Granger says that timeframe quickly changed so went from you know maybe when she's eighteen she might need it to when you're quite. Each in my unit and now we're gonna do it. And as we can't. The two month old's condition deteriorated so quickly they just weeks after that first diagnosis he jumped to first on the liver transplant list. Any liver became available would be hers. We're also told by an intensive care doctor. Com. I can tell you exactly the date of October 7. That morning intensive care doctor told us that we should start considering. When we were one stop. Providing care to K. The terror of the Rangers on a manageable. But hours later that same day John says they got the good news that there was a match he received a liver from someone in Denver. She's now happy and thriving second greater. Basically this is how it works currently liver allocation is divided into districts. On Kansas City is one of those districts and livers donated here are shared within a multistate region. You know us is proposing a new system the eleven existing districts would be reduced to eight. People within the region and 150 miles of the donation of origin get three extra points on their meld score. The higher your score which is made up of blood tests and other factors. The more urgent your need for a new liver and the more likely you are to get one off the list. Now as we've heard this morning many people in the midwest oppose the potential changes but others throughout the country support it the proposed changes are designed to make the system more fair. As it stands you have to have a much higher milk scored get a new liver and places like New York or California. And a higher meld score means your match sicker. Doctor Christopher Hughes these surgical director of liver transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh says the current system is outdated. People shouldn't be. Her just because of where they live and they should not be forced to have to go somewhere else to try to. Get an organ because it's not available in the area where there are. Critics of the proposed plan argue that these troubled region should instead kicked up donation efforts in their own area. Doctor Hughes says you know studies show that these efforts are not responsible for the lack of equity Sarah Scott K and be easy news that. Let's just take a quick look at some numbers in the Kansas City area the number of potential donors who are converted to donors is 84%. I was looking at statistics from Vanderbilt university in the Nashville area 95%. The donation rate in New York City. 53%. And there's word that a recent audit of the Health Department in New York shows they are sitting on a million dollars in money that is earmarked for donor education. Kevin Yoder. Not to try and deny the coasts. Our organs the supply that is available here but to get. Those parts of the country California New York the East Coast more populated parts of the country. To get them to increase their efforts to recruit organ donors to educate to go into the schools. And it's a I've I've heard some of the referred to as poaching that the Coastr poaching. From the central part of the. I have also heard some people say that they're changing those they're manipulating the meld scores putting an exception east Audi east. Com and at the bottom line issue just need you need to be a donor I can't imagine any reason why you wouldn't fill out whatever it on on your your driver's license. To be a donor if you wanna make a difference. Ian someone's life if you wanna have a purpose in this life. Make sure your designated as as an organ donor. We will have stories some the amazing stories of people who donated organs at what has happened throughout the morning here the one thing I will say to you think this is all gonna start with live first and then it's not an alcohol thing. My father never had a drop of alcohol in his life. Your husband Kevin. Primary schooler grossing colon Janice it has nothing to do with. With with drinking alcohol it's a liver disease they both had liver transplants and fatty liver disease unless it is the biggest and it's a huge increase at that. You know if you haven't thought about organ donation please please do and if you're at all motivated by it. Talk to folksy Yunus will get your mantras will get your way to communicate with them. Because they've got we got one month less if there's public comment for one more month on this change to convince them not to do this. You may think organ donation will never affect you I didn't think my dad was gonna liver transplant Kevin shirt and think he's gonna need to. Kidney transplants are on the rise cardboard mortal diabetics he never know no one major reason our cover story looks at the attempt to. Change the allocation system for delivers one major Reese delivered donations are higher here. Is that the option is available on your driver's license will many in the northeast reliant public transportation and don't drive. At the University of Kansas hospital doctor Tim Schmitt is the director of transplant. He says taking donations from this region and shipping them elsewhere is going to cost lives. 81% said they don't mind to where there are organs kidneys will help the sickest person but if you know this is convinced that there's a fixed number of donors which they have commented multiple times they're putting 16% of the donors. At risk Schmidt says the changes would especially be difficult on the rural and poor people in the southeast US. Donations there are lower but there's a much higher need at the changes proposed by you know as would take from that supply and be shipped to the northeast. The transplant dilemma there are changes being proposed to how those organs or allocate at. Under the changes the Kansas City metro would be in a slightly larger district than it is three point would be added to the meld score recipients are within the district and 150 miles of the donor. Yunus predicts some about 95% of donations would say within the districts. Some especially those in high donation areas are concerned that. 5%. Which could go to areas like low donations on parts of the coast doctor Christopher Hughes is a surgical director of liver transplantation at the University of Pittsburgh and acknowledges that emotions run high with this topic. But believes that where you live shouldn't affect your chance to survive. We all want to savor patients with the same time. There is no ownership. Donor's organs except by the donors. If the proposed system takes effect the average meld score is projected to go up slightly in Kansas in this part of Missouri. And the higher the score the sicker you are. The real stories about transplant the transplant dilemma are the people there are proposed changes to the distribution of global organs and we are talking to people who survived. Because somebody donated. There at the end. Right before I got like transplant. I was very sick. Weak and tired just McGill had been waiting 22 months for a new liver. He says he was on death's door. We received a call at 11:24. PM. On that point six of August. Just three weeks ago a match was made a new liver was on the way if you are our Ramona pinot. So polite liberal reader. But you know we're sooner it about all the other people there are also receiving their gifts. That night Strom. Same donor. McGill is recovering well and is quite thankful for the donor. And wants to encourage more to sign up to be organ donors. Because we're so many people that were like me. That shadow death's doorstep. That need that gift of life. For game easy news I'm damn line on no more proof that patients on the coast are desperate for organ donors their egg donor rate is much lower than other parts of the country earlier this year. Doctors at Johns Hopkins University on the East Coast became the first world to transplant liver from an HIV positive donor to an HIV positive recipient. They also transplanted kidney from the same donor ABC's bust economic has more on the hopes for these surgeries. Doctor Christine Durant says that so far so good. Patient is still in the hospital but expects to be discharged a few days in the letter is functioning extremely well Johns Hopkins is the first American hospital allowed to perform HIV positive to HIV positive transplant. If it works well they say thousands of lives could be saved. It would free up space on the long waiting list for organs and HIV patients to take advantage of having organs available only to them. Ozzie can on ABC news Washington. A transplant dilemma. There's a push by you know so I should say there's a plan by you know us to potentially re distribute starting with livers donated livers you nurses the governing body for transplants all around the country and they want to take livers from areas with high donation rates like the Kansas City area like Nashville Tennessee. And redistribute them to places in California and New York in the coasts where of the donation rates aren't as high. The disparity in organ donation boils down to this there needs to be a bigger push to get more donations in the northeast and that's what doctors here are saying. Doctor Tim Schmitt director of transplant at the University of Kansas hospital. Says the organ procurement organizations in this region of the country do a great job of getting donors compared to the northeast however it doesn't change the needy here. People die every day waiting for a liver transplant years now we have we don't have a surplus and there's nobody has a surplus of builders. In fact I witnessed that this hire. New York area. Is Schmidt says there are about 171000 people nationwide waiting for liver transplant every year and only 6000 actually get one. Jim Cunningham came BC news talked to Wear that. That has been sitting on a million dollar grant to educate people about organ donation not a dollar of that has been spent. I was talking with folks at the university Kansas hospital yesterday may confirm the same thing just a million dollars or to educate people and they don't they don't know anything about it. Different sides of the fence to a lot has to do with where in the country you are. When they try to redistribute these organs you know us wants to make the liver donation system fairer. They would condense the current eleven donation districts down to eight priority given to recipients nearby within that district. Which which means right now priority is is is given here in the area if if there's a liver in Kansas City. It goes to somebody in Kansas City who needs a liver and then and only then if there's no recipient does it begin to be spread out. The possibility here with the change in the system would be that well there's somebody New York who needs it more. It could go there. In stat many in the midwest oppose it because we do have those relatively high donation rates compared to other parts of the country but. This is doctor Christopher Hughes CC surgical director of liver transplantation at the university Pittsburgh he says where you live shouldn't affect your chance of survival. And so I know that emotions run high the emotions run high which positions because. And I don't hold anybody fault you know I want what's best for my patients to a difficult positions. Are just trying to look out for that are. For the interest of their own creations. It because the donation rates are much lower on the East Coast. There are going to need more of our organs from here there donation rates are lower their mortality rate is lower more people die here waiting in the old York and our donation rates are higher. In BZ EJ Becker Elin shrink along with you we are joined on the news line by congressman Kevin Yoder he is one of the leaders in congress. Who has been pushing. Two to keep you know us from making changes to the way. Both liver donations organ donations are distributed across the country. Congressman we got up on the FaceBook page the link to that you know this page where people can make public comment how important is it. That we make a comment that we tell you know as we don't want this to happen and we only have a month left to do it. On the show it is very important that people from our community speak out in less. You don't know that. You can organs from the midwest can reduce shipping them to the East Coast we'll show our community. A little about increasing amount of donations will ultimately collect lives saved. This is a bad idea. It and something that hopefully can our community that purple country and so of course I've been speaking out about it but. The only one voice you know leave the entire community. Two. Called action and it's not something we think about of course and so we need it but. Organ donation the organ availability is very critical to. Our ability to say what triggered our community. I think it was talked about this before this morning this statistics says it all the number of people die waiting for a liver transplant in New York. East 12% at. 17%. Now also the Pacific are in our favor. Early the imports to keep it. How in the hospital who are at a point where. They've lost a loved one and they're discussing organ donation. In the midwest we have a very high rate of trucks to convert to dollars and 80% rate. New York and he's got hostile it's less than 50%. Increase the question is. If you've got a little donation rate in your community where you're having a hard time getting people to donate organs. Is the solution to take organs from the midwest where. They're gonna battered or is it to work on your own organ donation or. We Republican critic weighs one has to say we approach this proposal we think it's a bad idea. It's bad public policy it'll. Are the American people. But the other thing to say how about we use of our best practices here in the midwest we do a great job of getting people to donate organs. And import those stickers where they need help at our colossal what is. More boats in the water or save more lives. And possibly just certain organs around the country that's luck it'll help. That'll bring it hurt by Milosevic. To say congressman there's a story in in the Bible that always comes to mind when I think of this don't give the man a fish teach him how to fish. And and Brooke it's a liver. Well look like a prize at. And different solutions that probably not going to be call it reached redistribution we have to figure out how to. Increasing about organ donors nationwide and I wanna commend the people. In campus physical being. Very high. I have very partly to walk in the nation and our organ donor I hope you will. I would go to renew your driver's license that's an easy way to do it campus. But it's important and it's close thing that you don't think to Unita. And on the plus side though it's been important in Adobe developed like it's important that people like organ shortages. Lead to that everybody in the country there's which probably thought of shortages and so. We need to make the party and what's happening with these big east of hospital try to take our request organs is going to hurt our communities have been fighting this. Percent of the way. That's so you know it does not. Have to cut on the superb so you know as an organization that is. Tired by. The department opened in services. And they are then too that the permanent and they have sort of been really quiet putting it altogether. Moving forward. And I hope is that people will notice or didn't happen and we mobile shopping and so. Two point double to go to my FaceBook page to my web site. Didn't find the link in a lot of comments saying don't do that but he did hear from us because they are actually trying to do that. Quietly under the the radar. And I hope that we can't stop. Congressman Kevin Yoder on the news on you go to the KM BZ FaceBook page and find that link is well one month left to comment congressman. We appreciate all your help on this effort we really do. Well thanks for highlighting. It can. Issues that people are gonna you know about it. We'll keep putting and Coppola went. Kim harbor gift of life founder here in Kansas City which is an amazing program which over the course of the last thirteen years since it was founded. Has educated 300000. Children about the importance of donating a life. Kim you started this I imagine because organ donation is very close to you and your family. Yes our son and eleven months old in 1996. Received a liver transplant he's now 21 and junior and what don't people understand about the transplant process. Well I think they have a fear of the physical process of organ donation I think they have missed trusts and times in the medical community and that can kind of put their arm around but I do think the biggest problem. Is there are not educated. About organ donation and have a true understanding about it so they in turn make an informed. What do they need to know most about organ donation and realize you are forum here is is relatively limited QB though given the bullet points what do people need to know that they don't know about organ donation. Well I think having a discussion and sharing your decision with your family is important. So that if there ever in a position to donate either you or your family member you know what that decision is it'll make a lot easier at the time of the tragic not easy but a little bit easier. Organ donation does not interfere with funeral plans most religions approved organ donation there's no cost to the donor family for the retrieval of the organs. But sharing that decision is really our message get to know one approaches it donor's family if there's any hope for life correct correct. And I think that's something some of our techsters haven't quite grasped. You know they they is some textures have said no if they know I'm a donor. They will let me die or let me go or whatever and in my mind logical answer to that in a discussion last night with my wife she said this in a made a lot of sense. They would not have a low donation rate in new York and California and everywhere else if that were the case but they would be just. They be taken organs left and right which doesn't happen. It's just speak to it's it's just not the way this. Think there's three prongs to a successful program. You know on organ donation. One is a dead organ procurement organization to is the transplant centers within that community have to have a good relationship. With that organ the German organized this organization and then three the community needs to be educated if you have those three things which we do here. That's why we have such a high organs. You have a unique perspective on Eunice trying to change Howell organs are are allotted across the country because you are board member who. Tell us what we don't understand about why you're looking at this occurred changing this system. So first of all the redistricting. Is not for all organs it is liver specific only. So the redistricting is only for livers it's not for all organs are now for now forever forever amen a proposal that's out there right San Diego for public come on Clinton is for livers. Only OK now I can't sit here and say that for now enjoy amber yeah now that won't change that for right now it's slivers only. And that is a proposal that's hot button. You know nationwide. And I think that there are some problems with the proposal on and I I think one of my problems with the proposal is. We wanna make sure that more transplants are done. Now the only way that's going to happen is if we get more donors and then proposal there's not much talk about. You know getting more donors and how we do is and isn't that. It's as simple as what you talked about one of those prongs education of the donor process right now torched the prop proposal to me just talking here. Is were shifting around the same amount and organs that were donated a year ago or two years ago because that's what the modeling. Is done on for this proposal not a proposal goes to the board. Only in a report form in December we will not vote on the proposal for probably another six months to a year. Kim harbor is the founder of gift of life she's a member of the board and do you know skimmed their 42 members on that board at you know us. Two questions one how many of them are from the coasts how many of them are from the middle of the country or is there equal distribution across the country. And second if a vote we're taking today how would ago. I have no idea how we got to be honest it's because we haven't is this is just not churning up again and I've only been on the board a year. But the I will tell you desk on the 42 members the bylaws you have to have 50% of those board members the either transplant physicians. Or search its. So there's a heavy at a coal low out there now that's by the bylaws the rest of us are I'm just a moment to store so. There's a lot of different perspectives and now the eleven regions which is how organs are distributed now there is represented him on that board from every. Region. So there's a lot of genome. There's going to be a lot of discussion let me just tee and I plan on pushing my microphone. And in December after the report is you know it act to deliver intestinal community does their report to the board than we have an opportunity. To speak up about what we think about the proposal but no vote will happen at that board meeting is an effective. Education process like the gift of life foundation. Were focused in on both sides of the coast would we even be talking about this. I don't think we would but that's just mind. Tim harbors the founder of gift of life a member of the board at you know saying came by this morning to be part of our cover story that transplant dilemma Kim thank you thank you Kim harbor was talking about the importance of organ procurement organizations. The groups that organize. The donor list where the donors come from and where they go and we have a very good one here in Kansas City and. Nationally folks willing to be don't you stressed over 50%. Putting camps shoots 64% in Missouri 72%. Of those eligible are built in the registry. Problem to rural midwest transplant network kills going to be using your though Clint doesn't guarantee patients in a war burial have a better trail should. Such local first with some exceptions and that goes regional pinnacles national problem that has the ball over the years yet. There are some reasons for that most of which is that. Organs at once they're removed from the donor has transpired rather quickly and organ functions will ultimately failed civil war. Oh showing up and encouraged to the number of organs that can be harvested usual. Linder were shares hospital gubernatorial notify the network of some 20000 death row for a ensure year held about two to 3% become overreached. Gold Brady QU MBC news. Still pinned to the top of our FaceBook page the top became easy FaceBook page to link to click on to comment that you know us and tell them. Bad idea please don't do this 'cause it's like Kim are Burgess said. It's only for livers. She won't she won't stay dramatic pause yeah that it's not going to spread to other organs why wouldn't exactly.