SSM Health Medical Minute: Living organ donation

Tara Hicks is giving thanks tonight and for the rest of her life. She will be receiving a kidney from her cousin Monetta Lawson the week after Thanksgiving. Tara went into kidney failure last year, was on dialysis and when she went on dialysis her cousin immediately stepped up to donate. After over a year of testing, the two cousins, who grew up as close as sisters, will transfer Monetta’s kidney to Tara at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital one of only two hospitals locally equipped for living organ surgery.

It's big because Tara could have waited as long as three years on the waiting list if her cousin hadn't come forward. Monetta said she had no hesitation that if she was a match, she would donate her kidney. She says many people check mark their driver’s license to donate their organs, but most people assume that their organs will be donated upon death. But living organ donation is something she hopes more people will consider, especially if they have a family member who can benefit.

The risks are real, but the statistical outcomes show that less than 0.03% of living organ donors suffer because of their donation. Nearly all living organ donors make a full recovery and go on to live full lives, even without the organ they donated.