BARBADIAN-BORN American kidney transplantation expert Dr Vilma Scantlebury is advocating donorship of cadaver kidneys for transplantation in Barbados, as she predicts a looming crisis with kidney disease.
The distinguished surgeon said concern had been expressed about the growing number of people ending up on dialysis machines because of kidney failure, adding she had learnt there was a likely problem with providing enough dialysis machines to meet the rapidly rising demand.
“If that continues at the rate that it is, then there is going to be a crisis in terms of the rising number of people with end-stage kidney disease and what to do with them,” Scantlebury said, “because if they are young, dialysis should not be the final treatment because it does not necessarily provide them with good long-term longevity.”
And weighing the cost of long-term dialysis treatment against the high cost of kidney transplant, Scantlebury argued “something needs to be considered in terms of what is the Government willing to do in the long run, especially for the young people”.
The associate director of the Kidney Transplant Programme at Christiana Care Hospital in Newark, Delaware, has done hundreds of kidney and some liver and pancreas transplants during her 22 years as a transplant surgeon.
Concern about the high incidence of kidney disease in Barbados led to the first black female kidney transplant surgeon in the United States, and recipient of the Barbados Gold Crown Of Merit, being invited to Barbados to participate in the CBC TV programme The People’s Business last night.
She told the DAILY NATION: “The bottom line is trying to create interest in cadaver donor transplantation . . . .”
Scantlebury also observed that there needed to be more public awareness of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
“There needs to be more awareness of the consequences of these two conditions which lead to end-stage kidney disease . . . .
“The more diabetes you have, the more high blood pressure you have, the more core morbidity that is presented to the physicians treating these patients.”