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transplants

The University of Kansas Health System

Two Kansas City area hospitals joined 12 other transplant centers this week in a lawsuit over a new liver allocation policy that they say will result in “hundreds of liver transplant candidates needlessly dying.”

The University of Kansas Hospital and Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City are plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS, the private organization that contracts with the government to manage the nation’s organ transplant system.

Segment 1: Storm spotters are the first line of defense against incoming severe weather.

Meteorologist don't just rely on sophisticated equipment to provide weather reporting, they also use trained, volunteer storm spotters to relay exactly what's being seen in the sky. But what goes into the training, and what are the risks?

The University of Kansas Health System

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital say a change in the distribution of livers across the country could result in Kansans waiting longer for life-saving transplants.

So they’re backing a bill in the Kansas Legislature that would allow residents who donate their organs to specify whether they want them used to benefit Kansas transplant patients.

“The purpose of the Kansas Donor Rights act is to bring the conversation to the forefront,” said Sean Kumer, a liver transplant surgeon at KU.

Alex Smith / KCUR 89.3

Shivering outside her home on a freezing day in Park Hills, Loretta Boesing explains that weather in eastern Missouri can be all over the map.

“It’s crazy,” Boesing says. “We sometimes experience temperatures like they would feel in Arizona. Sometimes we experience temperatures like they would feel up north.”

Boesing worries about how those temperature extremes affect the prescription drugs that many people receive via mail-order delivery.

Paul Andrews

Artist and pastor Dylan Mortimer had just moved with his family from Kansas City to Brooklyn, New York, for an adventure the last time he spoke to KCUR. Mortimer, who was born with cystic fibrosis, said he had never had so much freedom of movement.

“I feel the best I’ve felt in my life,” he said in an August conversation about his installation at the Open Spaces arts festival. He was happy to be travelling, riding bikes and climbing mountains with his sons.

Mo Dickens

Through late spring and into early summer, Kansas City artist Dylan Mortimer searched the trees in Swope Park for signs of death. He found a 40-footer that was dead for sure, but the park staff told him it was too close to the road and hazardous; they cut it down.

Medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry. It's where countries or cities become known for a certain kind of medical procedure and attract patients as visitors. And with these visitors comes money. Are local health institutions trying to push Kansas City as THE place to be if you need a liver transplant? And is this practice ethically problematic?

Guests:

Susie Fagan / Heartland Health Monitor

Segment 1: Examination of the secrecy shrouding Kansas government ignites momentum for openness, but it's dwindling. 

Kansas is considered to be one of the "darkest" state governments in the nation. We asked why this problem persists and how lawmakers have responded to calls for more transparency in Topeka. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The monarch butterfly migration is one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature. Today, we speak with an Overland Park native who is following the migration on her bike, a 10,000-mile trip. Then, we shine a spotlight on Angel Flight Central, a Kansas City charity staffed by volunteer pilots who fly patients in need to essential medical care.

Courtesy Zach Williams

Since he took over as interim secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, Tim Keck has emphasized improving morale at state hospitals by letting employees know they are appreciated and their concerns are heard.

Now Keck is backing up those words with action of a personal sort, encouraging KDADS employees to participate in a bone marrow drive on behalf of a co-worker in need of a transplant.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

A new transplant center at Children’s Mercy will foster collaboration between heart, kidney and liver specialists.

Executive Medical Director Charlie Roberts says bringing the three transplant teams together will allow Children’s Mercy to offer patients an even higher level of care.

http://www.kslegislature.org/

 

Rep. Susie Swanson said the thought of donating a kidney once terrified her.

Swanson, a Republican legislator from Clay Center, had never been through surgery, and her tolerance for pain is not too high.

But when her neighbor’s son, whose twin brother had died of cancer, needed a new kidney to survive, Swanson felt compelled to act.

“He was very, very ill,” she says. “And they’d already lost one son.”

Courtesy / University of Kansas Hospital

A plan to redistribute donor livers from areas where donor numbers are higher, like Kansas City and the South, to organ-needy coastal areas is on hold after protests from members of Congress representing the areas that would have seen transplant wait times increase.

University of Kansas Hospital

When Steve Jobs needed a liver transplant in 2009, the Apple CEO left California and went to Memphis, Tenn. While his home state has some of the longest waiting lists in the country for donated livers, Tennessee has some of the shortest.

Many health advocates point to Jobs’ story as an example of the harsh disparities faced by those who need new livers in different parts of the country.

Plans are in the works to fix those disparities, but some Kansas City doctors worry about what a shake-up would mean for local hospitals and patients.

University of Missouri - Kansas City

About 75 percent of kidney transplant recipients fail to properly take the medications they need to stay healthy, says Cynthia Russell, a professor at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies.

After receiving a transplant, patients - many of whom previously needed kidney dialysis – typically feel healthy and often simply forget to take medications as needed twice a day.

“They are active. They are feeling good. They are just living normal lives,” Russell says.