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Author Topic: Doctor Becomes A Nephrologist After Becoming A Kidney Donor  (Read 166 times)

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http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/24/533966000/interlaced-fingers-traces-roots-of-racial-disparity-in-kidney-transplants

'Interlaced Fingers' Traces Roots Of Racial Disparity In Kidney Transplants

June 24, 2017 6:03 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered

MICHEL MARTIN

While she was a primary care doctor in Oakland, Calif., Dr. Vanessa Grubbs fell in love with a man who had been living with kidney disease since he was a teenager.

Their relationship brought Grubbs face to face with the dilemmas of kidney transplantation — and the racial biases she found to be embedded in the way donated kidneys are allocated. Robert Phillips, who eventually became her husband, had waited years for a transplant; Grubbs ended up donating one of her own kidneys to him. And along the way she found a new calling as a nephrologist — a kidney doctor.

Her candid new memoir, Hundreds of Interlaced Fingers: A Kidney Doctor's Search for the Perfect Match, explores her personal story and some troubling statistics. Roughly 1 in 3 of the candidates awaiting kidney transplants are African American, Grubbs learned, but they receive only about 1 in 5 of all donated kidneys. White people account for about a third of the candidates awaiting kidney transplants, but they receive every other donated kidney.

Grubbs writes of accompanying Phillips in 2004 to meet with members of the transplantation team — including a doctor, a nurse and a financial counselor — for a routine evaluation and update. After being on the waiting list for a kidney for five years, he had neared the top of the list.

"We sat in a clinic exam room listening to a series of people whose job it seemed was to talk Robert out of even wanting a transplant," Grubbs writes. Such meetings may be meant to make sure patients understand the difficult realities of organ transplantation, she says, but, "... the message we took away was, 'The kidney transplant system doesn't like black people.' "
Grubbs, now a nephrologist at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, recently sat down to talk about her experience with NPR.



Unrelated directed kidney donor in 2003, 57 gallon blood & platelet donor and counting!
Rep to the OPTN/UNOS Boards of Directors & Executive, Kidney Transplantation, & Ad Hoc Public Solicitation of Organ Donors Committees 2005-2011

 

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