Are your kidneys available to me? - Tenth in a series
If you had a son or daughter or parent who decided to donate a kidney, would you want to offer them any advice or assistance? If a person were sincerely convinced it would be right and good to donate, what influence could you have? Yet if anything were to go wrong, it could affect your life and others in your family significantly.
If our churches taught on biomedical topics that touch on the sanctity of life, we could become aware of potential risks and any ungodly aspects they pose, despite being endorsed by our culture — and many churches.
If people could reflect on these matters before becoming emotionally involved in real life situations, they would stand a good chance of making a decision based on Scripture and obedience to God, not on emotion and yes, ignorance of facts.
Hmm, this is beginning to sound like an “if” piece.
Kipling’s If comes to mind:
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;…
Can we Christians keep our heads in a society where others are emphasizing progress through science, while pursuing answers ourselves in the same venues, but putting first God’s kingdom and righteousness?
It could help to study these things together. A sanctity of life Sunday school series could have a class on live kidney donation. What does God think about this? To begin, what are the risks to the body — that belongs to him? For you are not your own (1Co 6:19). Gathering information on this topic, we find the risks are downplayed on many websites. Examples:
The class could also observe transparency on some sites that are seeking living donors:
Unfortunately, some donors have lost their kidney function and require dialysis several years after donation. There is a priority system in place so that donors receive extra points for deceased donor kidney transplant when they are on the waiting list. (ref)
Maybe we would call that one the “The Big Give and Take”.
Another site explains
Your emotions when you donate a kidney
Kidney donors may have a wide range of emotions, including joy, relief, anxiety or a sense of loss throughout the process. Even if you are elated at the thought of giving the gift of life, as a potential kidney donor you should have a support system throughout the process. Family, friends, spiritual guidance, organized support groups and mental health counseling can be helpful.
Getting a nephrectomy done
There are two methods to remove a kidney: an open nephrectomy and a laparoscopic nephrectomy.
In an open nephrectomy, an incision approximately 12 inches long is made in the abdomen. Sometimes the surgeon must remove a rib. The ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) is cut between the bladder and the kidney, and blood vessels are cut and clamped before the kidney is removed. The incision is closed with stitches or staples. The procedure can take up to three hours. Some benefits of open nephrectomy include:
- Allowing surgeons to place sterile ice directly on the kidney to prevent damage during surgery
- Donors experience less urinary leakage after surgery…(ref)
After studying these facts, what discussion might follow?
An excellent website to include would be LivingDonor101.com, which shares information on risks without asking anything in return except a donation to help them host their site. It describes the physical and some psychosocial risks for living kidney donors such as: Adrenal Insufficiency/Addison's Disease, Bleeding, Cardiac/Heart issues, Chylous Ascites (lymph gland related), Chronic Pain, Insurance and Financial issues, Gastrointestinal issues, Hernia, Hypertension, Infection, Kidney Failure, Chronic Kidney Disease, End-Stage Renal Disease, Martial/Relationship Conflict, Nerve Damage, others.
Another site, OrganFacts.net, offers lots of information on organ donation with a spotlight on whether the “brain dead” donor is actually dead.
A prospective donor might start to wonder: How will my living donation affect my family and friends? Do I have the right to expose them to potential time-consuming difficulties on my behalf? If I do not recuperate fully, can I/my family afford it? Would I ask others to donate their kidney for me? What has been the cause of the recipient’s need? If through self abuse, would that pattern continue and my gift not be appreciated?
Nevertheless, in some cases, would God approve of live kidney donation?