Tags: facebook | kidney | donations

Facebook Fosters Kidney Donations

Friday, 25 May 2012 01:41 PM


In a surprising new application of social media, Loyola University Medical Center researchers have found Facebook users who solicit kidney donations through the web-based network are finding it an effective way to make connections and speed up the process.
In one of the first studies to examine how patients and families are soliciting living kidney donors on Facebook, the researchers found 30 percent of 91 Facebook users seeking kidney donations reported that potential donors had stepped forward to be tested to determine their compatibility.
Twelve percent reported receiving a kidney transplant and one Facebook user said more than 600 people had been tested as potential donors for a young child needing a kidney transplant. The Facebook postings were seeking donations for patients ranging in age from 2 to 69.
"Use of social media could be an effective way to solicit kidney donation,” said kidney specialist Dr. Alexander Chang, who conducted the study presented at a meeting of the National Kidney Foundation. “But more study is needed to determine how to do this safely and with enough knowledge to make informed decisions."
Chang and his colleagues said they could not determine how much Facebook contributed to making successful solicitations, since users also employed other tactics, such as seeking news coverage.
About 37 percent of the Facebook pages studied were created by patients, 31 percent by their children and 32 percent by other family or friends. Some simply asked people to donate. Others provided detailed medical histories, family photos and emotional accounts of the health challenges of waiting for an organ.
The researchers began their study last October. On May 1, Facebook announced an organ donation initiative allowing users to post their organ donation status, letting friends know that they have signed up with their state registry to donate their organs after they die.
In one troubling note, researchers found 3 percent of the pages were contacted by would-be donors offering to sell kidneys – for between $30,000 and $40,000 – which is illegal.


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Facebook users who solicit kidney donations are making connections and speeding up the process.
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Friday, 25 May 2012 01:41 PM
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