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Independents' Day

Kidney donor GP helps total stranger

By Nigel Praities

A GP has taken his adherence to the Hippocratic oath to new extremes after becoming one of the first people in the UK to donate an organ to a total stranger.

Dr Paul van den Bosch, a GP principal in Pirbright, Surrey, told Pulse he was simply motivated by the desire to help a person in need, after donating a kidney to a woman he had never met.

Dr van den Bosch is one of 22 donors to have given organs under rules introduced in May 2007 allowing altruistic donation, the Human Tissue Authority has revealed.

‘Partly it was knowing transplant patients and knowing the difference it has made. I have a colleague of mine whose father gave him a kidney 30 years ago and he is still doing well,' he said.

‘People are wary. There is a great anxiety about not doing patients harm – which is appropriate – and that altruistic donors are psychologically abnormal or have some psychiatric disorder. But research shows altruistic donors are a fairly normal bunch of people.'

‘If you see someone having difficulty in the water and you are a good swimmer, then you would pull them out. If you look at it in those terms, you have the opportunity to do something that makes a huge impact for relatively low risk.'

‘It is only recently that it became legally possible and in this country we have been relatively slow to take it up as a significant contributor of providing transplants to people' he said.

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