DETROIT (WWJ) — About a week ago life changed for Richard Fairless from East Tawas. The 78-year-old got a double kidney transplant at Henry Ford Hospital.
“I’ve been on the transplant list for about almost five years,” Fairless told WWJ’s health reporter Deanna Lites.
Not so many are as lucky as Fairless when it comes to kidney transplants. Approximately 600,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant with some patients waiting several years.
However, transplant centers often reject usable kidneys an average of seven times before the organ is transplanted, according to a study from Case Western Reserve University.
Henry Ford transplant doctor Marwan Abouljoud says it’s important for patients to understand that every transplant center is different.
“The organs are different, some have higher risks than others,” Abouljoud said. “Just understanding that and understanding that you may be willing to consider these organs opens the window to more opportunities to get transplanted.”
Abouljoud added that one center may reject an organ yet that same organ will be accepted by another center.
The most common reasons a transplant center refuses an organ is because of the donor’s age, the quality of the organ, and not meeting a transplant center’s acceptance criteria.