Shelby Commission Committee Recommends Organ Donation Program Merge
(Memphis) Brian Clay has been waiting over three years for a kidney.
The former athlete has end stage renal failure.
“I`m flat out scared. I`m scared of what could be,” said Clay.
He believes the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, which provides the organs in the Mid-South, should merge with the Tennessee Donor Services in Nashville.
“If they merge I think it will create a bigger pool of greater opportunity for kidneys,” said Clay.
Commissioner Heidi Schafer says patients wait an average of two years for an organ in Shelby County while people in Nashville wait an average of only seven months.
That’s why she and five other commissioners voted to tell federal officials to give the sickest person in the state an organ regardless of where they live.
Mid-South Transplant Foundation Director Kim Van Frank thinks a district merge would be a bad idea.
“If this waiver is granted patients in the Mid-South will not have first right to organs that we recover for the other fifty hospitals we serve,” said Van Frank.
Van Frank says patients in Shelby County have first choice when it comes to organs donated in the Mid-South.
But under a merge the sickest mid-southerners would have first dibs on an organ from any place in the state.
Dr. James Eason with Methodist Hospital wants the merger.
“For us to access any of those organs in the blue area they have to first of all be turned down by Vanderbilt for every eligible patient on their list and then our patient has to be the sickest person in the five state region,” said Eason.
Van Frank says to get the waiver approved the Methodist must prove the merge will increase the number of donations. She says it’s not about gaining access.