Ethical dilemmas in patient selection for a new kidney transplant program in Guyana, South America

S. R. Guy, A. L. Womble, T. R. Jindal, A. Doyle, E. A. Friedman, E. A. Elster, E. M. Falta, R. M. Jindal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: We describe ethical/moral issues in patient selection in a new living donor kidney transplant program in Guyana, South America. Case Reports: Over 3 years, we screened 450 patients with chronic kidney disease among which 70 were suitable for kidney transplantation. There were five patients whose evaluations raised possible ethical dilemmas: one had nonadherence to dialysis; two of Guyanese origin living abroad wished to have the transplant performed in Guyana; a minor wished to donate to her mother; and another subject was considering commercialization of the transplant process. Results: Since inception of the renal replacement program in 2008, we have completed 13 living kidney transplantations, 17 peritoneal dialysis placements, and 20 vascular access procedures. In the five patients wherein faced ethical dilemmas, three were rejected for consideration despite having living donors: one was nonadherent, the second excluded due to an attempt to commercialize the process, and the third, a minor who wished to donate to the mother. The other two patients were considered Guyanese ex-patriots acceptable for the program. Discussion: The consequence of kidney failure in Guyana prior to introduction of renal replacement therapy was a virtual death sentence. These cases illustrate ethical dilemmas serving to throw into stark relief the implications of decisions made in a developing country versus those in a developing country.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-107
Number of pages6
JournalTransplantation Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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