Numbers are of use occasionally, but they also conceal tragedies under cold mathematical statistics. For example, there are over 60 thousand patients suffering kidney failure in our country. These people require treatment for survival. Indisputably the best treatment for kidney failure is kidney transplant. Well, then, are these people able to get kidney transplants? The answer is a big “No”. Only 3 thousand people get kidney transplants every year in our country. Each year new patients, at a number equal to or higher than the number of patients treated, are added to the toll of patients suffering kidney failure. Those losing their lives due to lack of treatment are deducted from the list and at the end of the day, the total figure of 60 thousand patients increases gradually.

Kidney Transplantation In Our Country”.

As a matter of fact, there is indeed something we can be proud of with respect to organ transplants. Our country is one of the leading countries in the world regarding the number of transplants performed and experience in the field. Expatriate doctors come to our country to receive training, to acquire this experience and to transfer this experience to their countries. We are specially experienced in the field of organ transplants from live donors. This type of transplant is made by using organs given by live donors wishing to help a loved one or a relative in need, who are found to be medically suitable for organ donation as a result of the tests and examinations made. The majority of transplants comprise those made by using organs given by live donors in our country, whereas, cadaveric organ transplants prevail in the western world. Let us refer to numbers again. We have 60 thousand patients suffering kidney failure, 25 thousand of which have applied to be included on the national organ waiting list. We perform 3 thousand kidney transplants every year. Only 500 of these kidneys come from cadaveric donations. Thus, only 500 cadaveric donations are made for 25 thousand patients waiting on the list. Because of this, most of our patients get live donor transplants by using a kidney given by their loved ones..

Careful readers must have noticed that only 25 thousand of a total of 60 thousand patients are on the waiting list. The situation is so desperate that 35 thousand patients do not even bother to apply to be included in the list. Maybe some of them are even not aware of the list. And perhaps some of them have just given up on everything. Some of our patients have been left on their own. No one has cared to check up on them after they got sick. Those 25 thousand patients have somehow found their way into the list. Those 25 thousand people are desperately waiting for a call from the center to give them the good news.

As I have said in the beginning, numbers sometimes make thing worse. Our numbers are 60 thousand, 25 thousand and 500. There are tens of thousands of patients waiting for a kidney transplant against only a few hundred cadaveric donations.


Let us assume that there is only one patient. For example, assume that you are that one patient. One morning you wake up to an ordinary working day. You feel ill at the office and are taken to a hospital. Dizziness, nausea, puking. You have lost consciousness. They have brought you to the ER. Examinations and tests. The doctor explains your situation. In short, he says your kidneys have failed. You need to receive hemodialysis treatment immediately. Otherwise you might lose your life. When listening to the doctor, you feel like he is telling you about the health concern of someone else. You don’t want to believe. You say, “there must be a mistake, please run the tests again.”. They do not argue with you and repeat the tests. The result is the same. They tell you that they need to insert a catheter into your neck at the size of a small pipe. That catheter is required for dialysis treatment. Into your neck? A catheter? You remember the days you tried hard to avoid getting injections. Now they tell you that they will insert a huge catheter into your neck. Still under the shock of the news, you suddenly become the hero of an adventure, which you wouldn’t believe in your wildest dreams. You ask the doctor if there was any other way to treat this disease. The doctor says, “Why, yes of course, you could get a kidney transplant”. So, how can I get a kidney transplant? Sir, naturally we need a kidney to be transplanted to you. We can perform a transplant using a kidney from a cadaveric donor, but it might take a long time due to low number of cadaveric donations. Actually, you might never get one. Is there an alternative? Yes, of course there is. Transplantation using a

kidney given by a live donor, a relative. How do you mean? I haven’t yet been convinced on my illness, how am I supposed to ask for a kidney from a relative? Who can I ask for a kidney anyway? How could someone ask for something like this?

Is there a kidney out there?

Is there anybody out there?”

The ER was crowded a minute ago, now I am bizarrely surrounded by solitude. Silence has prevailed since I was told about kidney transplantation from a live donor.

I guess I better have that catheter inserted now. They told me that I could die if I do not get dialysis treatment immediately. Then I shall apply for the kidney waiting list. Let’s wait and see what the fortune brings, maybe I get a kidney someday, who knows. How am I supposed to do my job at work? Would they fire me because I need to take dialysis treatment 3 days a week? How can I handle all these?

“There are tens of thousands of people living this scenario in our country. Those who are lucky enough get kidneys from live donors, when their relatives step in, and get back to their normal lives quickly. But the majority first start to wait with hope in all this uncertainty and then give up!

If we were unable to relieve you of the coldness of numbers, then perhaps we ought to change the scenario. God forbid, assume that your son or daughter gets sick all of a sudden. And he/she is diagnosed with kidney failure. The result of the tests and examinations made in the ER indicate that a kidney transplant is the best solution. You, as the parents, ask how to proceed with a kidney transplant and naturally volunteer to be live donors. The doctors support your request and run some tests. They first check the mother. The blood group doesn’t match. Then they check the father and happily see that the blood group matches. But the tests reveal a heart condition in the father. Unfortunately, he doesn’t qualify as a donor either. So, what now? Shall we ask the aunt or the uncle? The grandmother suffers diabetes, the grandfather has passed away long ago. Who shall we ask, who can give a kidney to our child. You then ask the doctor about cadaveric donors. Can we get a kidney for our child from a cadaveric donor? Yes, theoretically you can. However, the rate of cadaveric donors is very low in our country, so it is impossible to say when your child can actually get a kidney from a cadaveric donor. We need to wait patiently. So, will my child receive dialysis treatment now? How is she supposed to go to school? She is a very successful student. Now she will fall behind in the class…

The Only Hope

Now, I kindly ask you to think on the stone-cold number of 60 thousand again. If we assume that each patient has 10 people around him/her, comprising family and/or close friends, that makes 600 thousand people living amid this tragedy every single day. People lose their jobs, drop out of school and more tragically lose their lives due to a treatable illness. Some of them get very lucky though. Their loved ones come together and join hands as soon as the disease is diagnosed to relieve the patient of his/her problems, turning agony into joy. Some others are left on their own without any solutions to their problem. Cadaveric organ donations remain to be the only hope for them. Think of this like an insurance policy. Since we are all humans, we all prone to get sick any minute. Thus, we need to be reasonable and create decent treatment conditions today for tomorrow’s patients. We shall treat all people the way we want to be treated. This is the only way to ease our conscience.

Going back to numbers, if we can manage to raise cadaveric organ donation rate to the level of Spain, we can transplant cadaveric kidneys to 5 thousand people a year instead of 500 only. Currently only 3 thousand kidney transplants are performed every year, 2500 of them from live donors. This can easily be increased to 7500 a year if we can manage to raise cadaveric donations to that level. Even if it is the problem of a single person, its magnitude increases exponentially when that person is you. Just imagine being able to solve 7500 cases of that problem, which makes everything meaningless when it happens to you. Start counting from one up to 7500. Each case is the story of an individual. There are small children involved. There are teenagers with newly growing mustaches and dreams, preparing to go to college. There are young people dreaming of saving money and getting married with the love of their lives. There are adults busy with raising and educating their children, trying to meet all the needs of their home, sweet home. There are people preparing for their pension years. After carrying years of burden, they finally wish to spare some time for themselves, to travel around the country and even the world. There others dreaming to spend time with their grandchildren. Yet, they all have an obstacle between them and their dreams, which has come out of the blue. This obstacle, which can actually be overcome easily, stands right between them and their dreams, as if an invisible source of power stops them from clearing that obstacle. This invisible power can be given many names, unawareness, indifference, apathy. Actually, its name doesn’t matter the least. We are in the year 2016. We have the knowledge and experience to create miracles through organ transplants. All we need is the support and awareness of the society. Please listen to me before this calamity finds you. Come and take a step forward for tomorrow. Support organ donation. Spare a life. Perhaps this is what needs to be emphasized nowadays. Life is the most precious gift. Everyone needs to cherish their precious gifts. Dear people of my beloved country, all debts, receivables that worry you, all your anger, rage, all the people you have offended, all your behavior and attitudes, they can only prevail until the day your health faces a critical crisis. They all lose their importance after that day. I invite you to appreciate your precious health and to spare the life of a perfect stranger upon termination of yours. This also means sparing your own life from another perspective, because as soon as you realize that life is a miracle you stop wasting it. Take care of yourselves!

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