MEDICAL ADVISORY BOARD
Stuart Greenstein, M.D.
Professor of Surgery
Montefiore Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Ron Shapiro, M.D.
Kidney And Pancreas Transplant Program
Mount Sinai Medical Center / Rmti
Bernard Kaplan, M.D.
Professor Of Pediatrics
The Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia
The Perelman School Of Medicine At The
University Of Pennsylvania
Lloyd E. Ratner M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
Chairman, Board Of Directors
New York Organ Donor Network
And Professor Of Surgery
Director, Renal & Pancreatic Transplantationc
Olumbia University/new York-presbyterian Hospital
Rafik El-Sabrout, M.D.
Director, Kidney Transplant
Westchester Medical Center
David Serur, M.D.
Kidney And Pancreas Transplant Program
New York Presbyterian-weill Cornell
Jonathan Winston, M.D.
Department Of Nephrology, Mount Sinai
School Of Medicine
While it seems like the most miraculous of procedures — the transfer of an organ from one living person to another — kidney transplant is actually a common and very safe operation. But that hasn’t diminished the awe doctors and nurses feel every time they perform the life-saving procedure.
“Any kind of surgery is a huge responsibility for the surgeon. The patient is in your hands and the slightest move of the scalpel can have
far-reaching consequences. But when I operate on a person who’s giving away his kidney, there’s a unique dimension of greatness attached. I feel as if I’m involved in something loftier… the feeling is incredible."
“I have performed about 500 kidney transplants and have not encountered a single recorded risk to the donor. People continue their lives in the best of health. They just weigh a few ounces less, that’s all."
“It’s best when close family members are the ones to give the kidney. And only if that’s not possible should a kidney be sought elsewhere. And I don’t think it’s advisable to publicize the fact that you’re going to donate a kidney, but rather to wait until after it’s been done already. Often a family member or friend might try to dissuade the person from going through with it. When someone is inspired to donate a kidney, he should just do it without fanfare.”
— Dr. Stuart Greenstein
Transplant Surgeon, Montefiore Medical Center
“Some people are terrified of undergoing surgery, but I tell them two things. First, statistically, it is more likely for a person to die in a car
“The Orthodox community is blessed to have Renewal… an organization I wish every single community would have a version of. By getting the word out, educating the public, offering support to potential donors, and acting as a liaison between donor and recipient, they make it a simpler and better process. Often, the patient is nervous about asking family members to donate for him, and doesn’t do so. Meanwhile, his brother thinks, ‘If my brother would approach me, I’d certainly say yes, but I don’t feel comfortable approaching him. What if I make him feel bad?’ Until Renewal came around, this scenario was all too common. Now, the brother can call Renewal and say, ‘Can you let my brother know that I’m open to donating?"
accident than while undergoing surgery to donate a kidney, and all of us walk on roads and drive cars. Secondly, the surgery is laparoscopic and the hospital stay is only two days,with most people up and running within three weeks at most — it’s not a long, drawn-out recovery process, as it used to be.”
“To those suffering and in need of a kidney: Don’t be afraid to ask your family. Don’t deny them what could be their chance to perform a most incredible mitzvah.To the community at large: Don’t worry about what others will think. It’s an incredible opportunity to save someone’s life. Several years ago, I was at a gathering in my child’s school when a man came up to me and said, “Dr. Ratner, you were the surgeon when I donated a kidney to my brother five years ago. This was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I now see my brother enjoying his children daily and I feel my heart overflowing with joy and appreciation for the fact that my brother’s children have a healthy father due to one selfless act on my part. It’s a humbling and awesome feeling.”
Dialysis vs. Transplant
“If someone is at the stage where they need to go on dialysis, they will most likely eventually need a transplant to live, so the question boils down to doing a transplant now or later. Secondly, in general, dialysis only brings up kidney function to about 17 percent — not a lot at all. Only 25 percent of people can continue to work at a job while on dialysis. It’s not a life. It’s painful, it’s time-consuming, and it should be seen as a last resort. It’s of utmost importance that there be a plan in place for a transplant. The sooner one gets started on it, the better, because there is a lot of testing that will need to get done on the potential donors to ensure that they are indeed the best match. Nobody wants to be held up in bureaucratic traffic when his or her life is on the line, G-d forbid.”
—Dr. Lloyd E. Ratner, M.D.
Professor of Surgery and Director of Renal & Pancreatic Transplantation at Columbia University / New York-Presbyterian Hospital
“Let’s distinguish kidney disease from kidney failure. Kidney disease is a syndrome in which the kidney shows signs of damage, but that damage can be graded from mild to severe. Kidney failure is the most severe form of kidney disease, a situation in which kidney function is no longer sufficient to maintain health. A person with kidney failure can only survive with either dialysis or a new kidney. Patients at risk for kidney failure can benefit from sharing information with family and friends because that sharing may lead to someone volunteering for kidney donation.”
—Dr. Jonathan A. Winston
Professor of Medicine and Nephrologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center
"The Renewal program has facilitated scored of transplants that would not have occurred otherwise... They are an exemplary community organization."
—Dr. David Serur, Medical Director
Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell, Rogosin Institute