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Donor shortage means long wait for kidneys in Arizona

Posted: 3:49 PM, Jul 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-15 01:09:12-04

For those who need a transplant, the wait for a kidney in America is growing longer. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there's an extreme shortage of donors nationwide. 

The shortage can cause people to be on the wait list for up to 10 years. In Arizona, more than 2,000 people are on the waiting list for kidneys every year, The Donor Network of Arizona reports. "The limitation of kidney transplant today is not about us, it's about the availability of donors," Dr. Tun Jie, associate professor of surgery at UA's College of Medicine - Tucson, said. A person may need a kidney transplant for several reasons including diabetes, a metabolic disorder, failure and more. The National Kidney Foundation estimates 12 people die waiting for a kidney every day.

In Tucson,170 patients are on the wait list at Banner University Medical Center North. According to local experts, the wait may be longer for patients who want a cadaveric kidney donation. They want patients to know there are other options. "We encourage our patients to consider living donor as an option, because wait time is getting longer and longer, not getting any shorter," Dr. Jie said. Wait times for a living kidney can be one or two years shorter. The easiest way to register as a donor is  at your local Motor Vehicle Division office.
Requirements to become a donor:

According to the National Kidney Foundation, a person must be in good health and at least 18-years-old to be a living donor. Certain medical conditions can prevent someone from becoming a donor, the foundation said 

Before someone's organ or kidney can be donated, a donor must also be legally declared brain dead, must be 70 or younger and must die in a hospital. They can't have had diseases such as cancers that affect certain organs or have HIV, tuberculosis or other infections that could be transmitted through organs.