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Kidney Donor Crucial

By Randy Rutherford - Staff Writer | Aug 11, 2021

Paul and his Mother Luella Southerly

Time is of the essence. Paul Southerly, age 37 of Sistersville, is in desperate need of a kidney. “My son was diagnosed with renal kidney failure,” explained Luella (Lue), Paul’s mother. They received the heartbreaking diagnosis a year ago. The family has been patient, but time is working against them.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is where Paul receives medical attention and the hospital is spearheading the hunt for a new kidney. UPMC is asking the family to help do their part by getting the word out. Paul has posted information cards from the hospital in a few churches, the library and several stores. Paul explained that not too many people read bulletin boards in this fast paced technology world, so Paul’s mom called the paper to see if we could help; and we can sure try.

Paul and his mother came to the office so we could talk. I asked Paul what a typical day was like for him. His answer came quickly and was very short. “Miserable,” admitted Paul. Paul spends eight hours every night undergoing kidney dialysis while he is trying to sleep. “It takes a lot out of you,” he indicated. Fatigue is a common side effect in people who use dialysis on a long-term basis. Feeling exhausted all the time is thought to be caused by a combination of the loss of normal kidney function and the effects dialysis has on the body.

Paul’s case worker explains that a live donor would be the best hope for a successful transplant. UPMC encourages everyone between the ages of 18 and 75 and in general good health to consider becoming a donor. Recovery times have shortened as surgery techniques have improved. Most donors spend a couple days in the hospital, but that is a decision made by the surgeon of each individual patient.

Paul is Blood Type O, but even if you are not a match for Paul, there are others in the area waiting for a kidney. There are more people on the national waiting list than there are available kidneys from deceased organ donors. Currently, 90,000 people in the United States are on the national transplant waiting list for a donor kidney. Paul unselfishly explained, “If it can’t help me, maybe it can help others.”

If you have a charitable desire to contribute to another person’s life in a healthy way, or would like more information about becoming a living donor, Paul and his family ask you to visit UPMC.com/LivingDonorKidney or phone 412-647-5800 to receive more information.