Plan to pay kidney donors could save my life, says Josie
THE Federal Government's radical move to provide financial aid to living kidney donors has given renewed hope to transplant recipient hopefuls like Josie Ure.
The Maroochydore woman can only survive by spending up to six hours every second day hooked up to a dialysis machine that cleans the toxins from her blood.
With at least a six-year wait for a new kidney under existing arrangements, she is praying the government plan will change her life a lot sooner.
Mrs Ure was diagnosed with hereditary polycystic kidney disease when she was a teenager and the 50-year-old's kidneys began to fail five years ago.
Both her kidneys are covered in cysts the size of 50-cent coins and operate at just 2% of capacity.
Her life on dialysis is both physically and mentally draining.
"You can look at this as having a full-time job," Mrs Ure said.
"When you are connected to the machine, you can't move and when I get off the machine I feel very heavy and exhausted.
"One year I did a 21km run and I've got to say I would rather do that every other day."
With the rarer O+-type blood, Ms Ure said she could expect to wait up to six years for a suitable organ donor to come along and she is hopeful the government's announcement it will pay donors up to $3600 to assist with post-surgery recovery costs would encourage more people to donate.
"I hope it works. It is very hard to live like this," she said.
Health minister Tanya Plibersek said the government would commit $1.3 million over two years to trial paying employees who wish to become donors up to six weeks at the minimum wage.
The trial is being implemented to alleviate some of the financial burden for donors during recovery.
While the move was applauded by Kidney Support Network CEO Kay Scafer, it has prompted a warning of caution from the Sunshine Coast Medical Association.
President Wayne Herdy said the perceived payment for donating organs was contrary to Australian policy and he feared it could be open to corruption.
"While there is a significant difference in receiving a financial reward and having financial assistance, my belief is that anybody who is going to be donating an organ is going to do so under altruistic circumstances," he said.
"Is there any evidence that there are a lot of people who are not able to give altruistic donations simply because they cannot afford to take time off work?
"It is likely in some eyes to be interpreted as a payment for an organ.
"It doesn't take too much imagination to think of other sorts of corruptions of Australian values that could occur if there is a perceived financial reward."