New coupon system encourages kidney donations by linking chains of donors and recipients
NEW YORK (NBC News) —
Howard Broadman, 66, came up with a plan that could revolutionize kidney transplants after facing challenges donating to his grandson.
The unique kidney donation program uses an old-fashioned coupon system to get patients life-saving transplants.
Broadman's grandson, Quinn, was born with one kidney that does not function well and he'll need a new kidney someday.
Broadman wanted to be his donor, but his old age meant he needed to donate as soon as possible - before Quinn could use it.
"This doesn't make any sense. Why don't I just give my kidney to somebody else and just get a voucher and give it to Quinn?" Broadman says.
Dr. Jeff Veale and his colleagues at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center embraced the idea.
Broadman started a kidney chain by donating to a stranger in 2014.
Armed with a gift certificate from his grandfather, Quinn will be able to receive a kidney from a living donor on that chain when he's ready.
He will not have to be placed on the deceased donor waiting list- a list of over 100,000 patients.
"You can get a kidney more or less immediately. And the advantage of getting a living donor kidney is that living donor kidneys function for twice as long as deceased donor kidneys," Dr. Veale says.
Nine other major hospital systems have signed on with UCLA, which means kidney gift certificates like Quinn's will be honored in places across the country.