Organ transplants are something most people are aware of. When receiving a driver’s license, the clerk always ask if an individual wants to be an organ donor. By simply saying yes, a person may be able to help someone in need of a donation and that someone could be local resident William M. McGeorge.
A 9-1-1 dispatcher for Bell County, McGeorge is just one of the many people in need of a transplant and organ donation. He received the news that he needed dialysis treatment in 2007 because of a failing kidney. He was informed of the news after being sent to a urologist in Barbourville.
McGeorge now receives treatment at a dialysis center in Corbin. He receives a type of blood replacement treatment, where the doctor finds two veins or arteries close together and surgically puts them together. There is also an insert line that hooks into a machine that removes waste and excess fluids from his body.
He has to go to the clinic three days out of the week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), which can be difficult for a someone who works 40 hours a week. He has to be at the treatment center by 5:30 a.m. and spends over four hours on the machine. Since his dialysis treatment began he has lost 60 pounds.
A second form of dialysis called “home treatment”, through which patients receive treatment at home overnight, but a family member must be present to monitor activity.
After several years of dialysis, McGeorge is now in need of a kidney transplant. He recently went back to UK HealthCare and has started the process of being put on the list for one.
On average, a person has to wait two years before receiving a kidney, according to McGeorge. His sister Willene Black said considering statistics, a dialysis patient will last on treatment for six years.
The chances of dying increases after the six years. McGeorge has been on treatment for close to four years.
McGeorge is just one story that demonstrates the need for more organ donors. There are many other patients — some who may be your next door neighbor or live in your community or maybe even a family member — who are in need of an organ donation.
There are two different types of donors: living and cadaver.
A living donor, which is commonly used in kidney transplants, is an individual still living who elects to donate an organ. Patients who receive a organ donation from a living donor will not have to wait in line if the donor wants a certain patient to have the organ.
A cadaver donor is a person with irreversible brain damage who has been declared brain-dead and whose family has agreed to donate his/her organs for transplantation.
The only qualifications needed to be a living donor is generally good health and a willingness to help. In McGeorge’s case, his insurance will pay for the all the test, surgery and evaluation for a living donor.
The easiest way to become a donor is to tell the clerk when you get a driver’s license. Once you do, you are encouraged to make your family aware of the decision.
Anyone interested in becoming a living donor can contact the UK HealthCare at (866) 474-6544 for more information, or Lynne Polly, a living donor coordinator, at (859) 323-6544.
Black asks people that are considering it to think about the decision and discuss it with their family and pastor. “You may help my brother, you may not, but there is always someone out there that you may help,” she said.
Black also ask people to pray for her brother and all the patients that need dialysis.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.