#22. Transplant doctors - Nov. 2011

I am looking forward to meeting with the transplant doctor and asking some questions.  Here are some questions I’ve thought of:
Am I a good candidate to be a kidney donor?
How do you choose who gets my kidney?
What are the criteria for getting on the list for a kidney transplant?
How long is the average length that a transplanted kidney lasts?
Is there a chance my kidney would be used in a domino way; so that a family donor who is incompatible could then give their kidney to an unrelated person?
What is the most frequent complication that could happen with a kidney donation?
How long will the surgery take?  How long will I be off work?
What sort of follow-up would I have to do after surgery?
Can I request a specific doctor to do the transplant?

I’m asking that last question because I already trust the doctor who operated on my husband. I remember the first day we met him. My husband had recently received the diagnosis of kidney cancer from our family doctor. He and I were very nervous to meet the specialist, a urologist from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton who treated kidney cancer.   He came into the room and was very articulate, a good listener and able to explain things in ways we could understand. He was very present with us, he was not frustrated at all when we asked him to explain things a couple of times, because we had a hard time absorbing all the information. He was honest and didn’t pull any punches, explaining the risks and the possible outcomes of having this type of cancer.  He was very relaxed, he was not in a hurry at all, he seemed willing to spend as much time as we needed. He calmed us down and made us feel that we were going to be given the best care, the most advanced treatments that could be found.

Subsequent meetings with him only confirmed our first impression. He was always professional and competent and kind. I would like to choose him to do the operation simply because I trust him already. He saved my husband’s life, I feel confident that I can put myself into his care. The other doctors are no doubt just as good, it’s just that I already have a relationship with this doctor.