“I can’t say it enough – organ donation is so important. People get their lives back. For donors, you will never know if you qualify if you don’t get checked out. You can really make an enormous difference in improving someone’s life.” – Dr. Javier Bibb, TriWest Medical Director
For one young father, the gift of life meant receiving a donor kidney after four years of dialysis treatments. The treatments, while sustaining his life, brought severe fatigue and made work and activity difficult.
“For that father, receiving a transplanted kidney from an unknown donor was nothing short of transformational in his life,” said Dr. Javier Bibb, TriWest Healthcare Alliance (TriWest) Medical Director.
Dr. Bibb currently participates in TriWest’s credentialing, peer review, claims and quality management. Prior to joining TriWest, he was a practicing nephrologist – a kidney doctor – serving the Phoenix area for 16 years.
He knows first-hand the life-changing benefits of organ donation and has seen the far-reaching gains from kidney transplantation.
Dr. Bibb explained more about the young father in his 30s, saying, “He would be overcome with fatigue after dialysis and had difficulty keeping up with work and family as a dad and husband. At one point, this patient was close to giving up.”
Thanks to the gift of a donated kidney, Dr. Bibb’s patient went on to thrive.
Today, according to the Health Resources & Services Administration, there are currently over 104,000 people, including children, on the national transplant waiting list. A new person is added to the list of donors every 10 minutes. Just one donor can save 8 lives and benefit 75 or more.
National Donate Life Month
As spring begins to bloom, we celebrate National Donate Life Month to raise awareness about organ, eye, and tissue donation and to encourage Americans to register as organ donors.
This national health observance provides the chance to celebrate those who have received transplants, recognize those who continue to wait – and remember the donors and their families for their contributions to those in need.
Among patients in the U.S. waiting for a kidney transplant the average wait is approximately four years, according to the National Institutes of Health. If a patient has a living donor it can happen much faster – in some cases, 6 to 12 months once the donor is evaluated.
Transforming a Life
Dr. Bibb, an El Paso, Texas, native, completed his residency and fellowship at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New Mexico Healthcare System and University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He worked with many different patients and complications including acute kidney injury, electrolyte abnormalities, chronic kidney disease and dialysis, kidney transplants, kidney stones and hypertension.
He takes to heart the importance of organ donation, both within the Veteran community and the population at large.
“My grandfather was in the Navy and my father in the Army. I’ve always had great respect for Veterans. Without Veterans our country would not be what it is today,” he explained. “It was an honor to care for them.”
Dr. Bibb’s experiences while working with organ donors and recipients taught him how organ donation truly is life changing.
“Dialysis is a very physically and psychologically-demanding treatment,” Dr. Bibb said. “When a patient goes from being on dialysis for four hours per treatment three times per week to getting a kidney, it’s a life changing experience for them. They feel better physically and mentally.”
They get their life back.
He added, “I can’t say it enough – organ donation is so important. People get their lives back. For donors, you will never know if you qualify if you don’t get checked out. You can really make an enormous difference in improving someone’s life.”
Becoming a Donor
If you’re interested in registering to become a donor, visit your local motor vehicle department or state registry. You can also find information on the Health Resources & Services Administration web page.
In addition, the National Kidney Foundation provides information and resources about kidney treatment, support and transplants.
During National Donate Life Month, consider joining the ranks of those who have given the gift of life.