Alvin Law shares his struggle with kidney failure, shortage of donors
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- Alvin Law is suffering from kidney failure. For the last two years, the 70-year-old Redmond man has been hooking himself to needles and machines administering his home dialysis, as he waits for an organ donation.
Law is one of about 250 patients in Central Oregon with kidney failure, in need of donors.
“I am confined to this chair five days a week, for roughly five hours a day, with needles stuck in this arm," Law said recently.
Law and his wife, Melinda, opted for home dialysis care as a more affordable alternative for treatment. Melinda now serves as his caregiver, ordering his supplies and making sure his weekly dialysis goes smoothly.
Home dialysis requires a large inventory of supplies, and even though it is more cost-effective than in-clinic care, for most families, it can still be costly.
Dr. Michael Feldman, a nephrologist with Summit Medical Group Oregon, said the average wait for a kidney locally has grown to about four or five years.
“When I moved to Central Oregon 13 years ago, the list was three years," Feldman said. "There was a fair amount of medical relocations from California, where the list was five to seven years, depending on your blood type. So (the wait) time keeps growing. ”
The longer someone is on the list, the greater toll kidney failure takes on their body.
“The process leaves me weak and dehydrated, debilitated," Law said. "It drops my blood pressure very greatly.”
Law said he feels he doesn’t have much time left, and in some cases, patients in need of kidney transplants die before they can receive a new organ.
“Survival on the list is a big concern, and it’s an area of active study," Feldman said. "The leading cause of shrinkage for that list is actually death, waiting for a transplant. So I would say there is a substantial number that make it to that list and don’t get to see their transplant.”
Priority for transplants is based on the amount of time a person is on the waiting list.
Though Law is still in need of a kidney, he’s optimistic one is coming his way. He said plans to spend the rest of his life getting back on the water in his boat and traveling the Sea of Cortez.
Anyone interested in possibly being a donor is urged to contact the Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Group in Portland, https://www.legacyhealth.org/. You can also contact Law at 541- 548-3503.