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Author Topic: Canadian kidney donor and recipient sibling living in US  (Read 376 times)

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Offline MJS

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Canadian kidney donor and recipient sibling living in US
« on: November 04, 2017, 01:40:11 PM »
I am new to this forum and this is my first post.
My brother has failing kidneys. He is a Canadian, married to a US citizen, and they now live in the US. His kidneys began failing when he was living up here in Canada about two years ago. I offered at that time to donate one of my kidneys. My brother was in between jobs in the tech sector at the time and was looking for work and so didn't want to go through surgery at that time. He didn't put his name in the Canadian kidney registry, so I still have not even been tested to see if I am eligible (my brother has his priorities screwed up, as far as I'm concerned, but that is a whole other matter).
He got a job in the US and moved there a year and a half ago and his kidneys stabilized for a time. Now his kidneys aren't doing so well and to make matters worse, he is longer working for the tech company with their Cadillac HMO, but is now self-employed with a slightly less than Cadillac insurer.
I am kind of pissed at him for not getting the donation up here where at least we would have both been under our public insurance. I have no idea what I would be covered for if I were to go down to the US to give him my kidney. As far as I know, our public system would not cover much, if anything, to donate in the US and I cannot get private travel insurance to cover voluntarily surgery. I am really stressed out, because he needs my kidney, but I am in my 50s and I have just gone through major back surgery and I don't want to go bankrupt before I retire. My wife is dead against me going down there to donate. I understand her frustration at my brother for not dealing with this two years ago and her fear that we will be stuck with a massive hospital bill, but this is my brother.
I'm not writing this to ask people here what I should do, but just if people have heard of similar situations. It is really hard to find out what US insurers will cover for foreign kidney donors coming into the US. It's also complicated by the fact that, while my brother has a green card, he is not a US citizen. Any information would be really helpful.

Offline Fr Pat

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Re: Canadian kidney donor and recipient sibling living in US
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 07:09:34 PM »
Hi. First of all, you might want to post your question also at the FaceBook page of Living Donors on Line, as there are many more donors who check in regularly there, including some from Canada.
     From what I have read about the experiences of others I would DEFINITELY urge you to insist that if he wants the kidney he should return to Canada. Your medical and financial situation in the U.S. would be terrible, especially if you turned out to be among the donors who have complications (sometimes long-term) from the kidney donation. I think it is wonderful that you want to donate, but donating in Canada (in my opinion) would be MUCH safer for you.
      FR. Pat (donor 2002)

Offline Qsrasra

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Re: Canadian kidney donor and recipient sibling living in US
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 08:35:48 PM »
Doing this through your brother's insurance would be difficult (in the US, the medical costs are on the organ recipient), and it sounds like the rest of the costs (travel, time off, ...) would be on you.
Being an organ recipient is a huge, life-long management commitment. The driving force behind this needs to come from your brother, and it sounds like the most responsible and viable solution is for him to return to Canada for the transplant.  He is SO very lucky to have a willing donor.  You can lead a horse to water...  From the highlights you shared, I agree with your wife.


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