I wanted to open up a space to talk about renal news in the TYT space. I believe TYT has only covered renal topics a couple of times. I just saw the segment that on October 6th 2021 with John and Adrienne about UCHealth’s requirement that people must be vaccinated in order to go through the kidney transplant process.
I think they hit all the key points of that story and I am not trying to cancel anyone. I am only one person but it really impacted me hearing them talk about the potential rejection of a kidney as a “waste of the organ”. That mentality implies that the person did something wrong when it happens even when the person does everything right. As well as, sometimes in kidney rejection, the person sometimes dies. My family has had family members die and be told to be great full that they did not receive an organ because it did not “go to waste”. And I don’t think either of them meant harm by saying it the way they did but I wanted to put this out there as a “coach-able moment”. It feels like a great way so begin to incorporate talking about kidney news.
Why do I and why I am talking about kidney news? I talk about kidney news because a lot of the policies that impact renal patients is left up to policy decisions, whether that be a good thing or a bad thing. Often people making decisions about kidney health, are folks that don’t have kidney disease or don’t know they have kidney disease therefore it isn’t a high concern to learn more information about. And why me? Because I am a fourth generation Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD or PKD for short) diagnosisee, I am an advocate and activist for people with chronic kidney disease, and it is critical to have someone who is apart of the kidney community talking about renal disease. Often the news media portrays a medical model of people with kidney disease. It can be very damaging, can quickly float into misinformation, or worse eugenics territory.
Lastly, there needs to be more Progressives engaged in kidney politics. Often I am the only progressive in these kidney spaces where I have to negotiate with people from a very conservative background. And it’s really hard when human life has is boil down to dollars and cents. 90% of people with chronic kidney disease in the United States don’t know about it. Some of the top reasons that people develop chronic kidney disease are from high blood pressure, diabetes, and genetic diseases like pollicis kidney disease. The best treatment and care to reduce chronic kidney disease is preventative action. But currently, about third of people crash on to dialysis with little to no care prior from a kidney doctor. The current average wait time for a kidney donation in the United States is five years, and an impacted areas (Los Angeles and New York) it can be as much as 8 to 10 years. People under the age of 65’s life expectancy exponentially declines on dialysis after three years. And the CDC is projecting the prevalence of people with chronic kidney disease in the US to raise 2% by 2030 which will be 16% of the population. And of course it goes without saying there are racial health disparities that also impact life expectancy outcomes. All this data isn’t showing the financial costs of what renal disease and kidney failure does to an impacted family and community or the mounting uncertainties with climate change, pandemics, supply chain failures, etc. Progressive policies and people fighting for basic healthcare could give people extra time so that their parents could see them graduate, meet their first grandchild, or have them be able retire.