Before you add organ donor to your driver's license be sure to check the body mass index to see if you classify as obese.
Ed Guillen who was immediately ready to donate his kidney to his mother after she suffered from kidney failure, was stunned to find out he was ineligible to be a donor due to his weight, according to The New York Times. Guillen was told he would have to first lose 70 pounds before becoming an eligible prospect.
Becoming an organ donor is a noble thing although many individuals may never be able to get that chance if he or she is obese.
According to Dr. Sandra Taler, a nephrologist at the Mayo Clinic who studies the health of living transplant donors, although transplant centers do not have a weight limit, more than half of these facilities cap a donor's body mass index at 35. Ten percent of transplant centers limit their donor's body mass index to 30.
At the North Shore University Hospital Transplant Center on Long Island, of 104 potential donors, 23 were severely obese exceeding a body mass index of 35. Though three lost weight and were able to donate eventually, there still remain 24 additional potential donors who have a body mass index above 30.
Although there is no concrete evidence demonstrating how many donors would be considered ineligible due to obesity, kidney disease continues to become a pressing issue. Many transplant facilities are worried obese donors won't be able to survive with just one kidney. Additionally obese donors are at higher risk for surgery complications and major complications—although it is rare whereas donors who are healthy and have maintained a normal weight are known to have decreased risk of kidney failure after a donor transplant.
Despite the fact transplant facilities offer hospital nutritionist for obese potential donors, there is no guarantee these potential donors will keep the weight off. In hopes to help those trying to lose weight, hospitals are implementing in person follow ups and post-donation wellness programs.
As for Guillen, he enrolled in a 20/20 Lifestyles program that offered nutritional counseling and personal training. He was able to lose 90 pounds and save his mother's life.