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Monday, August 8, 2011

Testing Differences

A few weeks ago, I made a new friend. I haven't actually met her in "real life" but she found this blog and contacted me. We've chatted with each other a few times now.  We'll call her Jess. I'm really excited because not only is she an interesting person but she's also on her way to becoming a living donor-(in Canada!!)-and has agreed I can share parts of her story.

Jess lives in the same province as I do, although she is in a different part of it. She entered the program in October 2010 (like me) and was slated to donate as part of a chain around the same time I donated Leftie. However due to some matching logistics, she has yet to have had her surgery. What I am finding most interesting about my conversations with her is the already apparent differences in the testing and process she has gone through. While I would expect there to be slight differences from province to province, I truly expected the programs in northern vs. southern Alberta to be the same, especially given that we started at the same time, are of a similar age (plus or minus) and are both female. I'm not sure why the tests would be different-kidneys are kidneys and I would think they'd want to equally mitigate patient risks throughout the various programs?

Here is how we were different-sometimes the differences were just technique, but in other cases there are entirely different tests given (or not):

  • Jess had had a renal CT scan rather than a MRI
  • For her Renal Scan, she had to lay down for a while rather than stand for the three minutes as I did (she also didn't get the dye stuck in her arm-lol!). 
  • Jess did two separate 24 hour urine tests (I feel 50% of her pain as I only had the one). She however was not instructed to put the urine jug in her fridge as I was. At least they gave me the tool (hat) to pee in though-she didn't get one of those.
  • She didn't have to do a 24 hour Blood Pressure assessment (instead she just to have four separate readings over three days). 
I'm definitely going to compare notes with her further as I think it would be a great exercise to explore the differences. Perhaps when I am finished, one of the programs can take it to the national committee/task force to look at what standardization could be done-especially with more donors travelling out of province to do paired exchanges. If there are others out there that would like to send me what their experiences were, that would be great.

I think consistency protects the patients and makes the programs stronger. It also might potentially prevent last minute "surprises" when tests maybe missed by one program are requested by another hospital who will actually be performing the surgery. And I can tell you as a donor-the more you know what is going on ahead of time, the better the whole journey is.




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