Cindy Speas of the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium noted that "more than 2,200 people in the Washington area are waiting for the gift of life" and argued that donated organs should go to those with the greatest medical need [letters, Oct. 11]. David Holcberg, a researcher at the Ayn Rand Institute, argued that people have the right to seek a lifesaving transplant for themselves rather than wait for a federally designated agency to make their health a priority [letters, Oct. 16].
As a kidney donor, I have a different perspective.
In 2001 I contacted the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium and offered to be a donor. When I revealed that I probably had had a kidney stone eight years earlier, I was rejected as a donor but told that I might try again in a year or two. I waited two years and again was rejected without even a physical examination. This time I was told I might try "elsewhere."
On the Internet I found two top-rated local hospitals that were open to me becoming a donor. They examined me and found a small kidney stone, but neither hospital excluded me on that basis. Last year one of my kidneys was transplanted to a woman who lives in Fort Washington. At a minimum, her life has been substantially improved because she will not have to spend hours at a dialysis center three days a week.
Sometimes organizations, even ones in the lifesaving business, think that if they are to succeed in the long run, they must proceed with extreme caution and not make any mistakes. They may be right. But that is why neither donors nor those who benefit from donations should rely on a single organization.