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The Need for Organ Donors

February 13, 1986

It was with great interest that I read Bonnie J. Sanders' letter (Jan. 23) regarding organ donors.

My husband, John, was also on dialysis for almost a year. However, he was very fortunate to receive a kidney transplant within three months after being added to the kidney transplant list.

Speaking from experience, I would like to make the public aware of what a dialysis patient has to endure. Unfortunately, we take for granted what we can eat and how much liquid we drink. A dialysis patient is placed on a very strict diet, which includes fluid restriction. These patients may suffer from muscle cramps while being on dialysis, and/or nausea.

These patients have to live with the fear of having a stroke or heart attack, and the possibility of contracting hepatitis. Your readers may not be aware of it, but a dialysis patient also has to be given blood transfusions on occasion.

Most patients are dialyzed three to four times a week, three to four hours each run. That doesn't leave much room for anything else. Granted some patients live for many years on dialysis, however, statistics show 10% of these patients die each year. My husband, personally, was given three to four years.

Imagine the emotional roller coaster after receiving a phone call that there is a kidney and it may be a match for you. We had several "false alarms" and I cannot tell you how disappointing it can be.

My husband has his successful kidney transplant on Oct. 7. Naturally, we do not know who the donor was, only that he or she was a young adult fatally killed in an accident in Albuquerque, N.M. The rest is a miracle.

I would like to echo Mrs. Sanders' plea: Please consider using a donor card. I personally have had a donor card for the past four years. I like to think of it as a gift of love.

In closing, I want to wish Mrs. Sander and her husband the best of luck, I have complete empathy for them.

JUDY GADWOOD

Los Angeles

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