Norfolk, Virginia- September 15, 2000 - Living persons considering donating a kidney, either to a relative, friend or stranger, will be able to have their future health status tracked and protected under a newly announced program that could dramatically improve the lives of thousands of seriously ill Americans.
The South-Eastern Organ Procurement Foundation (SEOPF), an association of transplant related professional organizations, announced the formation of the Living Donor Network (LDN) during its tri-annual meeting today in Norfolk, Virginia.
With the availability of LDN, information regarding living kidney donors will, for the first time, be placed in a common data base so medical professionals can collect demographic and medical characteristics of these individuals. In addition, donors at participating transplant centers will be provided with unprecedented health protection in the form of life, disability and medical insurance for complications, which might arise from being a living related or unrelated kidney donor.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 46,196 people across the United States have lost the function of their kidneys and are currently awaiting transplants.
"The gift of a kidney from a living person is a truly selfless act," says Thomas McCune, M.D., a transplant physician from Norfolk who is the 2000 President of SEOPF. "It is imperative that the medical and transplant community make sure they are given the finest health care and that they or their families do not suffer financially as a result of their generosity. In addition, we need to encourage more persons to donate kidneys, and LDN will hopefully ease their decision."
SEOPF will now offer LDN to all kidney transplant centers in the country. Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has agreed to become the first hospital to participate. SEOPF is investigating extending similar coverage to liver donors.