Educate Yourself on the Reality of Renal Failure in New Medical Thriller
By Dr. Dennis Ross
Renal failure is a devastating disease. I know because I’ve cared for patients with renal failure for over 40 years. Many kidney diseases advance slowly over time and are not detected until the symptoms have reached a critical level.
We know that the number one cause of kidney failure is diabetes mellitus, a disease that has exploded in incidence in the United States. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the number two cause of renal failure. This is a particular problem amongst the African American population who experience high blood pressure at a higher rate than other ethnic groups. Once a critical level of kidney function is reached at about 10-15 % kidney function, the patient must start dialysis to survive. The options at this point are hemodialysis, either at a center or at home, peritoneal dialysis, either during the day or overnight, or a kidney transplant. There has been, as a result, an increase in the number of people requiring dialysis with 726,000 people either on dialysis or living with a kidney transplant in 2016. Fifteen percent of the US adults or 37 million people have chronic kidney disease and nine out of ten do not know they have it. One in two have very low kidney function and are unaware of their problem.
Transplants allow patients the most normal lifestyle of the three treatments. The transplant could come from a relative or someone not related to the patient but whom has some relationship with the patient such as a brother-in-law, spouse, or good friend. Since kidneys from people who have passed away are in limited supply and because living kidney transplants have better outcomes, a transplant from a living source is preferred. Many people do not have the option of an immediately available matching kidney and must go on a list waiting until a match comes available. This wait can be two to three years.
If you have no knowledge of kidney disease either in yourself, a family member or friend, you will not know how life-changing this disease can be. For that reason, I wrote “The Perfect Match,” a medical thriller that will engage the reader throughout the book.
Nick Seratino, a good looking but spoiled rich kid, is diagnosed with kidney failure. His slowly developing kidney failure resulted in treatment by dialysis. His father, Emilio, who has Mafia ties and is known to get what he wants, will stop at nothing to get his favorite child a kidney transplant. His son’s transplant surgeon, Eric Strong, is dating Emilio’s oldest daughter but refuses to make any exceptions that would allow Nick to get a transplant sooner. Threats from the hospital and Emilio do not sway Dr. Strong’s determination to be fair to all the patients. Family secrets are discovered when Emilio and his wife, Rosa, are tested to be donors. When unexplained deaths start happening in the dialysis unit, Emilio is suspected of foul play.
“The Perfect Match” is an entertaining story that is easy to read but like John Grisham’s books will educate the reader about what transpires when a patient needs dialysis and a kidney transplant. The reader will appreciate the desperation that occurs with kidney failure and the sacrifice that donors or their families make and the tremendous need for donors in the United States.