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David Mittleman
David Mittleman
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Kidney Transplant Fiasco

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When a healthy living donor is willing to make the selfless sacrifice of offering a kidney to help someone in need, their act is nothing short of heroic. Sadly, one brave donor in New York gave up a kidney for her boss, only to be fired after the procedure was complete. Debbie Stevens donated a kidney on behalf of her boss, Jackie Brucia, so that Brucia could move up on the transplant list. After Stevens donated her kidney, the work environment became intolerable, according to the 47-year-old mother of two. She was demoted and moved to an office far from her home. Stevens consulted a mental health professional and hired an attorney, and she was promptly fired. To make matters even worse, doctors struck a nerve during the surgery, causing Stevens pain and digestive problems.

The life of someone waiting for a kidney transplant is grueling and disquieting. Simply put, there are too many recipients and not enough donors. There are essentially two methods for receiving a kidney transplant: from a living, altruistic donor, or from a deceased donor. Most patients who require kidney transplants explore both options, but the waiting time can stretch out to well over 5 years. Countless variables affect the amount of time a patient may have to wait, and even willing donors may not match with their friends and loved ones. Although paired donations and other programs have helped accelerate the process for some, the day-to-day life of a would-be recipient is arduous and costly. Monthly blood tests and frequent sessions of dialysis (up to three times per week) can be disheartening, physically draining, and cost upwards of $450,000.00 per year.