OKC Man Raises Funds To Stay On Kidney Transplant List

Tuesday, November 5th 2013, 5:35 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

A metro man waiting for a kidney for nearly four years is almost at the top of the recipient list. But now he has been told he has to raise $2,000 before he can get the transplant.

"I'm probably the first person on the list, just waiting for the funds," said 28-year-old Dustin Weed. Weed is currently on dialysis.

Last week he got a letter informing him if he doesn't raise $2,000 by mid-January, he could be removed from the donation list.

"(My) heart dropped," said Dustin, who because of his condition had to quit his job and is on disability.

But doctors say this is actually quite common.

"We have a major organ shortage in the country and we have to be very careful," said Jose El-Amm, M.D., the medical director for Kidney Transplantation at Integris Medical Center.

El-Amm says in non-immediate life threatening situations like this, they need to make sure patients can pay for post-transplant medication before they give them a precious organ.

"If you end up rejecting that organ not only do you end up putting the person who got the kidney transplant in a worse situation, you actually end up harming the next person on the transplant list who was waiting for that organ."

"I totally understand where they're coming from," says Dustin.

So Dustin has been trying feverishly to raise the money, including standing on the street corner to get donations. Monday he raised $27. He's a long way from his goal but the other option is spending the rest of his life on dialysis.

"I'm terrified, I want to get back to work and take care of my daughter and make sure she has a good life," Dustin said.

Dustin is on Medicare that pays for 80 percent of his medical bills. Supplemental insurance pays the rest. Right now the National Kidney Foundation pays that $500 premium. But that will stop after the transplant.

And Dustin says he's been told the Affordable Care Act would not help in this situation.

Visit Dustin's fundraising account here or you can call (800) 642-8399.