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Friday, December 18, 2009

They couldn't offer a life-saving donation: Polycystic kidney disease as a pre-existing condition

David Waddington is a 58-year-old wine retailer in Dallas. He has polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that leads to kidney failure. First he lost one kidney, then the other. A year ago he was on dialysis and desperately needed a new kidney. Doctors explained that the best match – the one least likely to be rejected – would perhaps come from his two sons, aged 27 and 29.

The two sons each had a 50% chance of inheriting PKD. If pre-donation testing revealed that either one had PKD, he might never be able to get health insurance: the pre-existing condition could make him uninsurable. As a result, their doctors had advised against their getting tested.

So "at the time David needed a transplant, the people closest to him couldn't even offer a lifesaving donation – for insurance reasons," David's wife Susan said.

Read another story about a pre-existing condition. Thanks to Nicholas Kristof for his source column the New York Times in October.

Advice: Tell your senator just how important it is that health reform include coverage of pre-existing conditions.

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