At Loyola we are always looking to do things better and faster than we did the day before. We are not afraid to blaze new trails and that’s why we are leading a revolution in transplantation with our Pay-It-Forward Kidney Transplant Program.
At Loyola, our goal for transplant recipients is to Find the Best Match for a kidney, we will strive to find it fast and focus on making it last. How do we do this? We have a close working relationship with the National Kidney Registry and its lightning-fast kidney-matching software. We will collect vital information about your health, enter it into this secure system and the program comes back with the best match of listed national donors available. We pair this stunning advance in technology with the compassion of good Samaritan donors who, after much reflection, have decided to donate a healthy kidney to a stranger. We can’t say enough about their selfless generosity. They truly are the soul of our program. By stepping forward, our altruistic donors start national chains of kidney transplant surgeries. Seriously ill patients who might otherwise die waiting their turn for a kidney on the traditional organ list have received new kidneys and now lead full, productive lives.
The Domino Effect
A Pay-It-Forward kidney transplant begins when an altruistic donor steps forward to donate a kidney to a stranger with “no strings attached,” thus beginning a kidney transplant chain. The altruistic donor’s kidney is then given to a compatible transplant candidate who has a willing but incompatible donor. The incompatible donor could be a friend, acquaintance or family member who then agrees to give a kidney to a third person with an incompatible donor, and so on. Potentially, a kidney transplant chain can go on forever. But a chain typically ends with a kidney patient who is extremely difficult to match. Traditionally transplant recipients would have to wait an average of 5 years for a suitable deceased-donor kidney in our region. Now with paired exchange and chain transplantation, our goal is to get every recipient with a healthy donor transplanted within 6 months, or sooner, depending on the difficulty of the match.
A Different Attitude
Our approach sets us apart. While most hospitals try to look for kidney matches within their own campus, we use this landmark approach to conduct a nationwide search. We are not looking for just any kidney, but the best matching kidney. When you have a better match, it reduces the need to suppress the immune system to accept the new organ and you are less at risk of rejection. This means your new kidney has the best possibility of lasting a long time.
Loyola’s Pay-It-Forward Kidney Transplant Program began when four people offered to donate kidneys to four complete strangers across the country – with no strings attached. The program is the first of its kind in the Midwest and boasts the largest number of altruistic donors to ever launch such an initiative at one time in the United States, said Garet Hil, founder of the National Kidney Registry, a nonprofit organization that coordinates the donations.
In 2011, Loyola had the most altruistic donors in the nation under the Pay-It-Forward program. And we were honored to take part in the longest kidney transplant chain in U.S. history.
On average about five people receive a much-needed kidney transplant for every altruistic donor who steps forward to participate in our program. Through our association with the National Kidney Registry, we were able to find transplant kidneys for some of the most difficult-to-match recipients, and even patients who didn't have any donors at hand.
In little more than one year, 17 Loyola patients received transplants thanks to this innovative kidney chain program. And 19 donors made the decision to end the suffering of those struggling with kidney disease. Loyola has helped more than 100 kidney patients across the country get off dialysis by unlocking the power of kidney chains. Our patients have gotten their lives back and now that their names have been removed from the wait list, others who haven’t found willing donors will find a match sooner.
For an appointment or more information, call (708) 327-4TXP, (708-327-4897), to speak with a Transplant representative.
Only at Loyola
While the Pay-It-Forward program has had a significant impact on our transplant patients, it has also left quite an impression on our employees. Our staffers are so enthusiastic about this program that seven employees have already donated kidneys. We affectionately call them the “Seven Sisters of Loyola.” Now dads can spend more time with their families instead of waiting at the dialysis clinic. Moms feel the energy to play with their kids. It’s a remarkable thing when you can have your life back.