Surgeons Cancel Kidney Transplant Days Before Surgery & Deny CKD Patient Life Saving Donated Kidney

JoAnn Schettig is an Instructional Assistant at a North Carolina Elementary School and knows all too well that there are approximately 123,193 people awaiting a lifesaving Organ Transplant in the United States since her uncle received a transplant from a donor over a decade ago. Hence, when she heard that her co-worker's 16-year old daughter, Alex Brigantti, was one of the 101,662 patients awaiting a Kidney Transplant, she was compelled to step forward. After months of testing Schettig was found to be a match for Brigantti and the transplant was given the green light to go forward. However, just days before the Kidney Transplant surgery was scheduled, the procedure was canceled by the Transplant Team. 

Recommended Reading: What You Can Do to Get on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List After Being Rejected

This devastating news came as a result of pre-operation testing which found that "Schettig and Brigantti were no longer a good match," according to the North Carolina News Site, Star News Online. Unfortunately, this story is not unique, and most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients believe that once they have found a Kidney Donor and scheduled a Kidney Transplant Procedure they will have a second chance at life. Well, Dwain Cooper (Community Relations Coordinator with Carolina Donor Services) suggested that he could not speak to what exactly caused the results so close to the surgery, but added that there are many variables that go into finding the best match for a person. This is the case for both Living Kidney Donors and Deceased Kidney Donors. 

Recommended Reading: How Much Can A Kidney Transplant Extend The Life Expectancy Of A CKD Dialysis Patient?

"That is why you cannot go off exactly what number you are on the waiting list," said Cooper. In fact the  transplant team can cancel the transplant surgery at any time until the actual moment of surgery due to reasons such as a cold or infection in either the donor or the recipient or a change in the cross-match results, according to the  Loma Linda University Medical Center. Moreover, Cambridge University Hospitals explained, "Sometimes when we look at the kidney, or examine a small piece of it under the microscope, we decide that it is not suitable to be transplanted and the operation will then be cancelled."

Recommended Reading: It's Here: Largest Change To The Kidney Transplant Waiting List & Kidney Allocation System In 26 Years.

As you can likely imagine, in most cases there is not much a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient can do to prevent Kidney Transplant Surgery Cancellation since that is dependent solely on the findings of their Kidney Transplant Teams. However, there are still a few things that can be done such as the following:

  1. Prepare a bag including a list of contacts to notify family and friends post Kidney Transplant, and to avoid anxiousness, elevated heart rate, and elevated Blood Pressure levels. 
  2. Attempt to avoid the cold and infection by washing your hands regularly and ensure that your Healthcare Team Members wash their hands as well. Nurse Kathy Day said, “if we don’t think someone taking care of us has clean hands, we have to say something.”
  3. Never sign anything until you’ve read it or if you’ve been medicated or sedated — especially consent forms - which Kathy says you can amend.
  4. Check a doctor’s or hospital’s rating on one of several ranking sites, such as Hospital Compare, Physician Compare, Healthgrades, the Leapfrog Group and GetBetterMaine. “It also doesn’t hurt to ask your primary care physician who they would use,” recommends Kathy.

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