TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – New data from the United Network of Organ Sharing shows organ transplants in the U.S. have significantly dropped in the last few weeks when social distancing measures came into effect.
Kaylee Clausen, 31, of Topeka was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome, a genetic kidney disease, when she was in first grade.
“My kidneys did not fail until I was a senior in high school,” Clausen said. “I got my first transplant from a live donor when I was 18, about a week after (graduating) high school.”
Unfortunately, Kaylee’s kidneys failed again five years later when she was 27. Kaylee was then on dialysis for four and a half years, before she got a second kidney transplant.
“We provided her with in-center dialysis, and she came to treatment three times a week, for about three hours. We placed her on the machine and removed toxins and cleaned her blood,” said Melissa Bell, a clinic manager at Fresenius Kidney Care in Topeka.
“When I struggled on dialysis, I thought it was never going to end. And then out of nowhere, I finally got my phone call and I was second in line,” Clausen said. “When we got to the hospital, we were still waiting and had to wait another 24 hours to see if I was even going to get the kidney. I finally got it, so just keep your faith,” Clausen said.
The United Network of Organ Sharing reported there were 50 percent fewer transplants in the last week of March compared to the first week.
Organizations nationwide within the donation and transplant community are coming together to address safety concerns during the coronavirus pandemic, while still urging the support for surgical recovery of organs by local medical teams. The organizations are doing this to help thousands of people still on the organ transplant waitlist right now.