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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

To Meet Or Not to Meet

I received some news on the weekend that left me a little disappointed. For the last 4-6 weeks, there was a tentative plan in place to arrange a meeting between the people involved in my kidney donation chain and potentially do a press conference. I believe, based on what the doctors thought at the time of my donation as well as a conversation I had with another potential donor in Edmonton, that this was the first "one hospital" chain done in Alberta. To have some media attention to that would have been awesome for the program and to promote awareness of living donation.

But everything was contingent on all involved in the transplants being willing to participate and somebody wasn't. I totally understand peoples desire for privacy-I support their decision 100%. I'll admit the idea of participating in a press conference was a little intimidating but I was looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone because of the opportunity it represented to educate people about organ donation. I also think that the doctors, nurses and others involved in the living donor program at Foothills Hospital do wonderful work and any chance to highlight that to our community is wonderful.

I was a little surprised how disappointed I was when I got the news. I was content in not knowing but I guess not as much as I thought. I still have no idea what I'd say to Leftie's new home but it was exciting to think I might be able to connect with them briefly. Of course that's not to say that there won't be an opportunity down the road. As cliche as it sounds, if its supposed to happen, it will happen.

I was recently looking at videos of donor recipient meetings. I really liked how the University of Maryland Medical Center handles these types of situations (see below). They allow for donor/recipients to meet but if someone does not want to participate, they don't and their privacy is protected. I think it would be something worth replicating in Canada as non directed donation and chains become more commonplace. I did offer this as a suggestion to one of the program people at Foothill's as they may not have considered this as an option. It may be another case of "this may not help me but it will help future participants" which I am fine with.

The whole concept of a meeting raises some interesting "what ifs" for people. If you were a donor would you want to meet your recipient? If you or your family member received a non-directed living donor kidney would you want to meet the donor? And what would you say if you did? If you didn't want to meet, what would be your reasons?



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