Daytime soaps are in the news again, and this time it’s not about another cancellation, but of the validity of the recent medical drama on General Hospital involving a brain-dead Jake donating his kidney to baby Josslyn.
The Los Angeles Times today has a very interesting breakdown of the reality of the medical nightmare that faced the children and their parents. The item is written by Marc Siegal who is a associate professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Here is just an excerpt of what Siegal had to say: “If the patient (Jake) loses all essential brain function, he or she could certainly be a kidney donor, provided that blood pressure is maintained at reasonable levels so the kidneys don’t get damaged. However, it’s very unlikely that Josslyn, with cancer in both her kidneys, would require or qualify for a transplant. Kidney cancer in a young child is usually a Wilms tumor, says Dr. William Carroll, professor of pediatric oncology and director of the NYU Cancer Institute. It is generally highly curable with a combination of chemotherapy, partial kidney removal and sometimes radiation. Even if a cancer develops in the remaining kidney, a transplant would still not be indicated. “I’ve never heard of a kidney transplant being needed or used in such a case,” Carroll says.
Unfortunately, Jake’s tragic case and the futile attempt to save him are both fairly realistic. But kidney transplants in infants — along with tortured plots in which ex-lovers with embattled pasts and gravely sick children come together to make heart-rending decisions — occur far more often on “General Hospital” than in the real world.”