BMI, Obesity, and Kidney Transplant

I thought that Heather Gardiners’ research on Kidney Transplants and BMI/obesity was very interesting. I learned a lot through this presentation that I otherwise would not have been aware of. To begin, I thought it was interesting when she mentioned that BMI may not be the best way to measure obesity because it does not take into account muscle mass. I know that we learned this in class, but it was interesting to hear how BMI plays a role in assessing someone’s eligibility for a kidney transplant. In addition, it was interesting to hear some of the other ways that weight could be assessed, such as water displacement, or formulas that take into account age and gender. It makes me wonder why BMI is the widely accepted obesity measurement.

Through this presentation, I learned how extensive the process is to receive a transplant. I was not aware that there are restrictions for being placed on a transplant list. I was under the impression that if you needed a transplant then you were automatically placed on the list, maybe in a certain order of who is in the most critical condition. I also learned that different transplant centers have different obesity criteria for receiving a transplant. To me this was shocking and also seems unfair due to the inconsistency across centers. It seems like wealthy white individuals have an advantage over those who may not be of high Socioeconomic status. Heather brought up Steve Jobs and how he was able to fly to another transplant center in order to have his name on multiple waitlists. I also thought it was astounding how Heather Gardiner had such a difficult time acquiring the transplant centers policies. I believe that this is something that any potential patient should be able to easily obtain.

I personally know a young boy who was waiting a heart transplant and I know that the process was grueling and stressful, knowing that his condition was only getting worse. The research Heather Gardiner is conducting is extremely important and the general public should be made aware of these discrepancies across treatment facilities.

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2 Responses to BMI, Obesity, and Kidney Transplant

  1. Alexa Bertrand says:

    I agree with your post. I really never knew all the steps and processes that are involved with obtaining any sort of organ transplantation. It makes sense though that the patients would be closely vetted to analyze a potential organ transplant’s viability in its new body.

    I too thought that it seemed really unfair to have the policies not readily available to the public, and furthermore, not consistent for that matter. If you think about the disparities in people’s abilities to access multiple transplant centers or care for that matter, their lives can depend solely on the policy of the center that they have access to. As you said, this shows quite an advantage for wealthy Americans.

    I think the topic of consistency and access to healthcare is definitely an issue in our country and should definitely be addressed. Hopefully we see some change soon in our healthcare system.

  2. Alexis Russell says:

    I agree with your post. It seems that the system is flawed, making a difficult process that much harder. It would seem like the common sense route would be first come first serve. I was shocked when I heard that richer, more influential members could alter their positions due to their class status. It seems backward that in the medical world, the richer are encouraged to stay alive longer than those who are poorer. I thought that in medicine, they were taught that a life is a life that should be protected. After hearing the law professor yesterday in class, it further intensified my feelings. While his family was lucky enough to find two donors within their immediate family, it was still a very dwelling process that I could not imagine going through if his daughter had to have been on a waitlist. I agree with Dr. Gardiner’s research that the process absolutely needs to be changed.

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