‘I couldn’t bear the waiting list anymore’

Like most of the Greeks with kidney failure who spoke to Kathimerini about going abroad for transplants, 35-year-old T.K. wishes to remain anonymous. «Yes, I went abroad for the transplant. They had told me here that I would have to wait six years. Six years, can you imagine that? Six years on the hemodialyzer. I would rather have died, jumped out the window, than go back to dialysis. I couldn’t stand that machine. Now that the incident in India is in the news, everybody is acting as if they didn’t know. Nobody sees what’s going on here, that the system is sicker than we are.» A revelation last week about organ trading and illegal transplants in India has made those who have gone abroad fearful of having their names connected to such horrors. They complain about what happens in Greece. It’s the same old story. Those diagnosed with kidney failure who have an immediate relative willing to donate a kidney get a transplant. Those who do not, or who do not have compatible tissue with that of the prospective donor, go on the waiting list for a kidney from a cadaver. For five-and-a half years, on average, they will go through the process of dialysis for four to five hours a day, every other day. It is a painful process that some of them describe as «a daily death.» The odds of their returning to the hemodialyzer in the future are high, as their bodies may reject the transplant 20 years later.