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Author Topic: My husband is a moderate drug user and plans to donate to his brother.  (Read 12090 times)

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My husband is a crack cocaine user and he is attempting to donate a kidney to his brother. He has already passed the first set of tests and he has the next set scheduled in two days. I don't understand how he can be at this stage of the kidney donation process, being a user, and being allowed to continue. I don't feel it is in my husband's best health interest to donate a kidney for as often as he uses crack. Please tell me that the hospital will find out that he's a user. The last time my husband used was last Friday. He goes back to the hospital this Wed. (I'm tagging along this time) Will he be doing his brother a disservice by giving him one of his kidneys? He has used crack cocaine for over 8 years, with the last 2 years being the heaviest use. My husband also has high cholesterol, as well as asthma. He has horrible coughing fits that cause him to vomit. I assume that my husband has been lying if he was asked about drug use during the screening process so far. Will using crack be more dangerous to my husband when he has just one kidney? He does not admit to having a serious problem, nor is he ready to stop using. We've been married for over 23 years, and we have children, and of course, this drug use has caused all of us much pain and heartache, but on the surface, with the possibility that he will be given the "ok" to donate, these questions won't leave my mind. I am SO SO WORRIED. Please don't suggest that I bring this up to the hospital/nurses/surgeon. I cannot take that chance. My husband is in denial about his use, and so is his family. I cannot believe how selfish my husband's brother is being by accepting my husband's offer for his kidney, knowing that he uses, and that we have children. His brother is already in the transplant list. What about his mother or father? My husband is 43, and not in the best of health. What of my children need a kidney down the road and my husband just has one kidney? I'm so confused about how to feel about this situation. I AM proud of my husband for offering this gift to his brothe. I have so many concerns, though! Maybe some of you can straighten me out on these concerns., Maybe I'm the one being selfish. Please advise! Thank you so much!

PS. My husband referred to this potential surgery as "the same as having a tooth pulled." He is being unrealistically light-hearted about this. He has not discussed life insurance or a will with me. Of course he has not been himself for years. He is regularly looking for acceptance and the thrives off of the "wow" factor. I am so concerned. I feel so left out and lost. How in the World can ANY hospital take his kidney? He is so clearly not healthy!

Offline sherri

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On every level this needs to be disclosed to the transplant center. You certainly can send it anonymously and leave it up to the center to investigate. I can't imagine that given the history you describe that this won't be discovered. I'm not quite sure why you feel uncomfortable about giving this information. Are you afraid of retaliation? Has there been an issue with violence or legal problems? There is medical confidentiality so he most likely won't be prosecuted unless a court order is given for disclosure which I doubt, but I am not a lawyer so this is NOT legal advice. Perhaps, you can speak with a member of the clergy or social worker about this and maybe given the information they can then relay this to the medical team no questions asked.

The other issue is what happens if the transplant does take place and he is able to evade the system by not using before testing. His brother gets a kidney that has been exposed to drugs, the transplant fails and he is in worse shape. Then what happens if your husband suffers complications from this because of the drug abuse? You definitely need some outside help to sort this all out. The burden cannot only be on you. I really hope you get some help from the social worker or psychologist  for some marriage counseling and therapy. Everything you say will be confidential. I am so sorry that you have had to deal with a loved one with a drug addiction. But sometimes we can't fix everything. This may be one situation where you are going to need some outside help. I hope you and your family get the help you need.

Best of luck and I hope you find peace.

Living Kidney Donor 11/12/07

Offline shelley

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My heart goes out to you, because this is an awful situation you're in.  I agree with Sherri that you must tell someone at the transplant center.  I'm sure they would protect your confidentiality by saying drugs showed up in the tests or something.  But I think you know in your heart that you can't stand by and let your husband put his brother and himself at such risk.

I have one more recommendation for you:  Al-Anon.  http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/meetings/meeting.html  This is not for him, it's FOR YOU.  There's tremendous support and understanding for what you're living with, from people just like you who live with an addict.  Check it out for yourself and for your family's sake.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Offline lawphi

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Just to chime in, he will be hard pressed to find a life insurance policy if he uses crack cocaine. There is a waiting period of several years, if he is able to get clean.

I will be surprised if your husband is medically able to donate. I was screened for drug use by both centers we listed with.

Overdose is a common cause of death for cadaver donors.
Bridge Paired Exchange donor on behalf of my husband (re-transplant) at Johns Hopkins.

Offline PhilHoover

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Call that transplant center and inform them of your husband's drug use/abuse....they can keep the information confidential...

Donated to a former college professor, October 28, 2009. Would do it again in a nanosecond.

Offline brenda

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Although cocaine is metabolized through the liver, it is well documented to cause kidney damage including rhabdomyolysis (sudden, catastrophic kidney failure), renal infarction, and accelerated hypertension.  Your husband may be tolerating his drug use now because he has two kidneys to absorb the load. It is incredibly generous of him to be willing to donate, but he absolutely cannot afford to give up one of his kidneys.  In addition to that, he has increased risk of surgical complications.  He should not be having any elective surgery and needs to be very cautious with necessary procedures.

Good luck,
Brenda (donated 5/17/2011)

Offline Big Bro

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Time to wake up.......sorry. Your worried about your husband donating? You should be worried about him using crack! One kidney or two does not matter to a drug addict. You need to be reporting this to more than the transplant center, you need to put your children first.
Sorry to be so harsh but you have to stop being an enabler.

Offline Gomory_84

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Re: My husband is a moderate drug user and plans to donate to his brother.
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2017, 01:54:32 AM »
I can understand when someone falls in situation like this. Hope all did well. Cases related to kidney donation or body’s other part become a big concern to family members when donator is a drug addict. I think in this case person should consult Virginia opiate addiction treatment center before going through all procedure.

Offline Boggsprop

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Re: My husband is a moderate drug user and plans to donate to his brother.
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2017, 06:19:48 PM »
Dear Worried Wife,

I'm sure you knew that the community would rally to support you in this situation and I agree that this is another attention grabber for your husband to look like the hero. We are here for you, and hopefully you will take our advice. There will come a time during the approval process when the social worker will interview you independently to get your buy-in for your husband to donate. This affects the whole family not just the donor. At that time, you should speak up. The center will cover you and state that there is some other reason for him to be denied. They do screen for all drugs, opiates, etc, because people lie. Ask Dr. House. Most likely they will catch it on their own.

Do not go along with this- compromised kidneys do not help the recipient, it could expose them to more health issues than they had originally.

Be strong and get help for yourself as well! Good Luck


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