By Julie Killian
Carl Vowels is one of about 1,800 residents in Wisconsin waiting to receive a kidney for transplant since 2008, when his kidney disease turned into kidney failure. At the age of 45 Carl must endure peritoneal dialysis every night, due to the fact that he has no functioning kidneys.
The demands of keeping him alive have compromised his ability to take care of his family. His wife, Michelle Vowels, has taken full responsibility of the family; Carl Vowels is not alone in this anxious wait for a kidney.
Dr. Christopher Johnson, Director of the kidney transplant program at Freodtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin states that people with extensive medical problems, age and poor compliance should not get a kidney transplant. Of the 500 patients that are seen each year at Froedtert Hospital, only half of them qualify for kidney transplantation. Carl had thyroid cancer, which kept him from being a candidate for kidney transplantation for about a year. Additionally, his O positive blood type requires him a kidney exclusively from O positive donors. Dr. Johnson claims that it takes about five years approximately for O positive patients to receive a kidney due to the lack of donations. “The only thing that would really help would be a huge increase in more altruistic donors, people who are donating out of the goodness of their heart.” Carl Vowels carries his phone around with hopeful anticipation that the phone will ring, and good news will have arrived from Freodtert Hospital.
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