Right now, 93,000 people in the United States are waiting on a kidney. However, a new study shows thousands of donated kidneys are thrown away every year.
David Ortiz of Cape Coral waited for a kidney for nine years. After we shared his story in August, he got the call.
“I’m just really happy right now. Been waiting for this for a long time,” he said.
Ortiz received a kidney from a young man who died and was an organ donor, and he’s making a great recovery.
“I’m a firm believer that God was looking out for me,” said Ortiz. “Someone was watching over me.”
But, he says, he doesn’t understand why donated kidneys get wasted when so many people like him need one.
“I think it’s ridiculous. There are so many people on dialysis. You’ve seen the numbers,” he said.
The journal, Jama Internal Medicine, recently published a study.
Researchers found between 2004 and 2014, people donated about 156,000 kidneys; nearly 28,000 of those were discarded.
The authors say transplant program regulations in the US aren’t helping. If the kidney isn’t in pristine condition, transplant centers may be less willing to take the risk.
Other issues include abnormal biopsy in the kidney, older kidneys, the cost to transplant and longer recovery for patients as a result.
President Donald Trump is working to make transplants easier in the U.S. with a radical idea, saying, “We are going to prioritize a truly transformative goal, the development of an artificial kidney.”
Until that happens, Ortiz plans to advocate for patients. “We’re just really, really excited about this new journey I’m on now.”
Right now, Ortiz says he has to take 28 pills a day to keep his kidneys and the rest of his body healthy while he heals from the surgery. He hopes to be back to work full time in three to six months and thanks everyone for their support.