I’ve known people whose lives were saved by kidney donation. Our own Bob Williams who has been doing traffic reports in morning drive on New Jersey 101.5 radio for as long as I can remember is one of them. He’s far from alone.

In New Jersey in 2021 there were over 2,300 people on the kidney transplant waiting list. In 2022 there were 620 donations. According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 380 deceased and 240 living.

Here are some things you should know about living donation. The donors these days are in about equal numbers family versus friends or acquaintances. In Williams’ case, it was a longtime neighbor. Sometimes donors are total strangers.

Bob Williams and living donor Kim Roumes (Courtesy of Bob Williams)
Bob Williams and living donor Kim Roumes (Courtesy of Bob Williams)
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If you were ever on the fence about being a kidney donor, maybe knowing the following would help. An interesting fact is a kidney donated from a living person lasts nearly twice as long as a deceased donor’s. Twelve to 20 years from a living donor compared to 8 to 12 years deceased.

You’re not just giving them life. You’re giving them life a lot longer than you probably would have guessed.

The good news is more people are donating.

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Dr. Praveen Kandula, medical director of the Living Donor Institute at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center tells njmonthly.com, “Thanks to social media and increased information about donating, more people are donating kidneys.”

The bad news is more are still needed.

Naturally, people will be afraid to end up in the same position as the person they’re trying to save by donating. The last thing medical staff wants is for it to harm a well person and they do extensive testing to make certain donors can be expected to live a very normal life.

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When one kidney is removed, the other kidney picks up the slack,” explains Dr. Kandula. “In three to six months, kidney function comes up from 50 percent to 70-75 percent. You can live normally with 80 percent; it’s more than enough to carry you through your life going forward.

Another positive sign is in-matching blood groups isn’t the barrier it once was to successful transplantation. They’re now doing ABO-incompatible transplant swaps and paired kidney exchanges which have saved more lives.

Some final good news, of the Top 20 hospitals in the United States experienced by performing the most kidney transplants last year, two of them were in New Jersey. Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center.

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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