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Live Organ Donation

Doctor with patient in background; table with model of a kidney and medical chart in foreground
Maine Public

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant, but only about 40,000 transplants take place each year. Hundreds of people in Maine need a kidney transplant. To mark National Donate Life Month, we’ll learn about live organ donation in Maine, which primarily involves kidney donations. We’ll also discuss the recent transplant of a pig’s kidney to a human.

Dr. Juan Palma-Vargas, surgical director; director, Living Donation, Maine Medical Center
Heather Stephen, registered nurse; coordinator, Living Donor, Maine Transplant program, MaineHealth

VIP callers:
Dr. Aji Djamali, nephrologist; chair, Department of Medicine, Maine Medical Center; he was an external consultant on the xenotransplantation (transplant of the pig kidney); he is a living donor
Shannon Butler, VP of operations, Islandport Press; she donated a kidney to her father three years ago
Michael Butler, kidney recipient; Shannon Butler’s father
Michael Rafford, altruistic organ donor from Elliott

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Jonathan was born in Monsey, New York. A field trip to Washington, DC when he was in 7th grade started him on his circuitous path to a career in public radio. The trip inspired a love of politics and led to his desire to one day call DC home. After graduating from Grinnell College, he worked on a couple of campaigns in Iowa (presidential and congressional) and moved to Washington, DC.