FOR RELEASE: 12/20/2005

Kaleida Health today announced the approval of a new medical policy involving altruistic kidney donors.

An “altruistic,” “voluntary,” “non-directed,” “good samaritan,” or “stranger” living donor for kidney transplantation is defined as a person who offers themselves as a potential donor for any person listed for kidney transplantation at the Kaleida Health Multiorgan Transplant Center.

“There is no greater gift that we can give than the gift of life,” said Margaret Paroski, M.D., chief medical officer of Kaleida Health and the chair of the board for Upstate New York Transplant Services. “Kaleida Health is ensuring that no potential donor is denied that opportunity.”

“Due to organ shortage, every year more than 6,700 Americans die while waiting for organ transplantation,” said Mark Laftavi, M.D., chief of surgical transplantation for Kaleida Health. “Our organization is taking the lead to expand living donation by accepting altruistic, voluntary, good samaritan donors. This new policy will help us reach this goal.”

The policy states that no potential donor will be excluded solely because the donor was identified through the media or the internet.

“The purpose of this policy is to clarify and standardize the criteria for the determination of an acceptable living voluntary kidney transplant donor,” said Oleh Pankewycz, M.D., transplant medical director for Kaleida Health.

The Kaleida Multiorgan Transplant Program, located at the Buffalo General Hospital, provides a full range of services for patients in need of kidney and/or pancreas transplantation.

Dr. Pankewycz said end stage renal disease is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States and the optimal form of medical care for patients with this disease is kidney transplantation, especially living donor kidney transplantation.

He added the new policy establishes the duties and responsibilities of Kaleida Health and the transplant medical staff in evaluating all candidates for living voluntary or altruistic kidney donation whether identified as a result of personal relationships or through the media or internet.

The new policy states that voluntary donors must demonstrate a willingness to donate to any person awaiting transplantation regardless of recipient medical condition, race, religion, national origin, sex or sexual orientation. Voluntary donors may request that the donation be directed, if possible, to a child.

In addition, voluntary donors must:

  • Be willing to donate without anticipation of monetary, social or celebrity benefits, and must demonstrate that the donation is made freely and without coercion. Federal and state laws strictly prohibit the buying and selling of organs.
  • Demonstrate adequate social support for their decision from family members, spouses, children or other persons that may have a significant role in their lives.
  • Be willing to undergo all medical and psychological pre-transplant evaluation procedures and to abide by the judgment of the medical and psychiatric staff regarding their suitability as a donor.
  • Be free of significant medical, mental illnesses or drug/alcohol abuse that would prevent donation.

The transplant team consists of surgeons, nephrologists, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, transplant pharmacists and financial advisors who evaluate all living donations at the Kaleida Multiorgan Transplant Center.

The transplant evaluation process is extremely rigorous yet can be a wonderful act of kindness and generosity for those who chose to make a gift.

For more information, interested donors can call 716-859-1345 (toll free, 1-800-648-9629), or visit the Kaleida Health Multiorgan Transplant Centeron the web.

Kaleida Health is the largest health care provider in Western New York. More than one million patient visits are recorded annually at Buffalo General Hospital, DeGraff Memorial Hospital, Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital, Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and numerous community health care centers. The not-for-profit family of health care companies also includes the Deaconess Center and Waterfront long-term care facilities, plus the nation’s oldest – and original – Visiting Nursing Association.


Contact Information:
Michael P. Hughes
Phone: (716) 859-3795