60 Lives Connected in the Largest Chain of Kidney Transplants

Monday, February 20, 2012

Doctors and patient (Seattle Municipal Archives/flickr)

The National Kidney Registry called it "Chain 124." It began last August and lasted through December, linking 60 lives forever in the longest-ever chain of kidney transplants.  Through the cooperation of seventeen hospitals in eleven states, it connected 30 people who needed a kidney with 30 people willing to give up an organ to a complete stranger. Transplant chains like this are rare, but computer models suggest thousands more transplants could be made each year if there were a national databank of willing donors and recipients — and if more Americans knew about such programs.

When Candice Ryan needed a kidney, her husband Michael Ryan was ready to give one up,  but her body wouldn't accept his.  As alternative, they decided to join a transplant chain.  They ended up part of "Chain 124." Katrina Bramstedt is a medical ethicist specializing in organ donations and transplants. She’s also the author of “The Organ Donor Experience: Good Samaritans and the Meaning of Altruism.”

Guests:

Katrina Bramstedt, Candice Ryan and Michael Ryan

Produced by:

Mythili Rao

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