by George Taniwaki

Yesterday, I had my (rescheduled) first appointment at the University of Washington Medical Center. The visit consisted of a physical exam by a nephrologist, an interview by the donor advocate, and a variety of medical tests that I’ll describe later.

My physical exam by the nephrologist, Elizabeth Kendrick, goes smoothly. I trust Dr. Kendrick as well as the other physicians and surgeons at UWMC because of its reputation as an excellent research and teaching hospital.

The UWMC has only recently joined the National Kidney Registry, so I may be the first donor from the Registry list that the UWMC has evaluated. I tell her I have been on the NKR donor list for almost two years. She is surprised. She posits that the reason I’ve been on the list so long is that hospitals use the NKR list as a last resort when a sensitized patient cannot find a local match. Since HLA-type matching is a low probability event, it means few chances of me finding a recipient.

Kidney Care

I meet with Dr. Kendrick. Photo by UWMC

I also have interviews with a donor advocate (part 2), transplant surgeon (Oct 12 and Mar 5), and a psychiatrist (Feb 10). All four must agree that I am a suitable candidate before the surgery can proceed.

For more information on becoming a kidney donor, see my Kidney donor guide.

[Update1: I’ve come up with a different explanation why donors with AB blood type are in low demand in kidney exchanges, see Mar 2010.]

[Update2: Added a photo taken by UW Medicine publicity department. This photo was taken in Oct 2010 during a follow-up visit a week after my surgery.]