Transplant coordinators' role in live kidney donations

The National University Centre for Organ Transplantation (NUCOT) said that of the people referred to them, about 12 per cent get a live kidney transplant.

In such a transplant, the organ is given by a living donor, as opposed to someone who donates a kidney on his death.

The centre also said that about 1.5 per cent of the donations are between strangers.

It uses transplant coordinators to facilitate arrangements.

Said Dr Angeline Goh, a consultant with National University Hospital's division of nephrology: "The transplant coordinator is a very important member of the transplant team."

"When we (the transplant team) receive a referral for a kidney transplant, the coordinator performs the preliminary counselling and screening of potential donorsand recipients."

The transplant coordinator is often the first point of contact for a potential donor-recipient pair when the topic of live kidney donation is broached, she said.

Dr Goh said the coordinator also plays a very important role in educating patients on the risks and benefits of kidney transplants.

Said transplant coordinator with NUCOT, Ms Michelle Neo: "The most challenging part would be to preserve family harmony when there are conflicting views within the family on kidney transplantation."

She said that sometimes, a family member maybe put under pressure to donate.

"We had a case where all other family members were medically unfit for kidney donation except for the recipient's sister."

"After talking to the sister at length, she finally verbalised that she was actually under a lot of pressure from the rest of the family to step forward as a donor," said Ms Neo.

"Hence, we need to be very sharp in picking up cues about such cases and be tactful in handling these sensitive cases."

Get The New Paper for more stories.