“Mom, they want me to play for the National Women’s Hockey League!” Josie yelled as she ran into the living room. She had just finished practice, and the scouts had old her afterward how impressed they were with her moves. Finally, her lifelong dream of winning an Olympic gold medal for Canada might actually come true! She’d had to make some sacrifices, like living at home after high school, but it looked like that would all pay off. As soon as she saw the looks on the faces of her parents, her smile disappeared.
“Honey, we just got back from the doctor. It turns out that your brother’s recurrent bouts of pyelonephritis have led to irreversible renal damage. The nephrologist is recommending that Xavier have a kidney transplant.” her mom explained with a pained look. “We know that he has a better chance if he has a related donor, but he could always go on hemodialysis and wait for a cadaver donor…”
Josie saw her dreams of a hockey career fade away. After Xavier’s third bout with nephrotic syndrome, the whole family had been tested for compatibility in case he needed a transplant. Josie was the only one with a positive cross-match. The doctors had explained to her then that what it would mean if she decided to donate one of her kidneys, but Josie had brushed it off, assuming that her brother would get better. Now the voices of the doctors came back to her. “No contact sports after a nephrectomy,” she heard them say. “There’s too big a risk of rupturing the remaining kidney.”
Josie was faced with the toughest decision of all she loved Xavier, but hockey was her life.
Discuss both the potential side-effects of having an organ transplant and the long-term repercussions of being a living organ donor.