Dr. Gardiner Talk

I thought Dr. Gardiner’s talk was very interesting, and she brought up points I had not thought about much before. Although it makes sense, it was certainly disheartening to hear the truth about how difficult it is to successfully get a kidney transplant in this country. Considering there are an estimated 160 million Americans who are either obese or overweight, I couldn’t help but think about how many are denied the right to be placed on a waiting list, if they are in need of a kidney transplant. What surprised me more, though, was that only half of the people who are obese/overweight make it back onto the waiting list for a transplant — I would think that being placed on this list would be a person’s top priority if they needed it.

It was also disheartening to hear about the major disparity that exists among the races, when it comes to the waiting list to receive a kidney transplant. Being black or white should evidently not be a deciding factor in whether you live or not, but in this case it seems to be just that. The fact that the majority of the people on these waiting lists are white is, sadly, not surprising. But I do think a lot more can be done in decreasing these types of disparities. I also refer to the weight disparity when I say this. America is biased against obesity, but rather than simply telling people they need to lose wight and wishing them luck in doing so, I think these same people should have a clear understanding of the fact that they can’t even be a recipient for a kidney transplant if they surpass their weight limit.

Something I never knew about was the variety of alternatives for measuring BMI. I had heard about underweight weighing and the whole body air displacement methods before, but that’s it. I think some of the ones Dr. Gardiner displayed for us were valid recommendations, but again, it is unknown how well people will respond to these or listen to suggestions about changing their habits in order to become healthier individuals altogether. Another factor Dr. Gardiner mentioned that got me thinking, was the amount of donors in the United States, compared to countries such as Spain. As someone who studied abroad in Madrid last semester, I realized that the Spaniards are very practical people. I think their process for attaining donors is practical as well, even more so than the system we have in the U.S. I understand how and why automatically becoming a donor after death could seem to be a problem for many people, but knowing you could save a life when you no longer need certain parts of your body could serve as motivation to be a donor, if you really think about it.

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