written by
Harvey Mysel

What does Occam's Razor have to do with kidney transplants?

Stories 1 min read , December 3, 2020

Definition of Occam’s Razor - The notion that the simplest explanation of a problem is the most beneficial. William of Occam was a fourteenth century philosopher who articulated this principle - a 21st Century equivalent is what we know as the “KISS” principle, “keep it simple stupid.”

Is Living Kidney Donation the simplest explanation to ending the shortage of available kidneys?

Let’s start with some facts:

• There are only two ways to receive a kidney transplant, from a deceased or a living donor.
• Studies show that the demand for kidneys would not be met even if kidneys were recovered from all potential deceased donors.
• Tragically, over 4,500 people die every year waiting for a kidney transplant.
• Kidneys from living donors last almost twice as long as ones from deceased donors.
• In 2006, Medicare spent $23 Billion, (representing 6.4% of their total budget) caring for patients with end-stage renal disease. (80% of those waiting for a kidney transplant are on kidney dialysis, representing the majority of this cost).
• The savings for every person on kidney dialysis getting a transplant has a present value savings of $1 Million, let alone the quality of life benefits.

In 2008, 45% of all kidney transplants were from living donors, individual’s motivated to help family members, friends or others in need. While this is encouraging, it reflects that the other 55% have not successfully sought living donation. This demonstrates the overwhelming need to develop better living donation awareness programs for patients and the general public in order to end the wait, save lives and have better transplant outcomes.

If Occam were alive today – wouldn’t he conclude that living kidney donation is the simplest explanation to solving this crisis?

Please share your thoughts and views about how we could increase the number of kidney transplants.

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