Medical Minute 5-4: Organ Donations and Facebook

By: Michelle Miller Email
By: Michelle Miller Email

As the youngest Mayor of East Haven, Connecticut, April Capone knows the importance of "pressing the flesh." Thanks to a post that hit her Facebook page in late 2009, she's taken it one step further.

"It was like an SOS. I need help," she said.

It came from Carlos Sanchez. In the throes of renal failure after his first transplant failed . . . Sanchez faced another lengthy wait for a healthy organ. With no relatives who were a match . . . his doctor suggested he turn to his Facebook family.

"All of a sudden I get that private text//and I didn't pay it no mind. I didn't answer. I thought she made a mistake," he said.

A few hours later, a second message came through.

"Carlos, I'll get tested, I've got two, so what the hell? You can have one. Seriously."

"I thought, what are the odds that she would be a match?" he recalled.

Turns out, she was and in April of 2010, doctors removed April's left kidney and gave it to Carlos. Facebook says it does not track or police these kinds of posts. But it has noticed what appears to be an increase in the number of users soliciting kidney donations on its website.

The official organ donor list - regulated and funded by the federal government - has an average wait time of three to five years and only draws organs from deceased.

"She's my angel. Because of her, I'm able to see my son graduate this year."

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