Warwick woman in need of kidney


Longtime Warwick resident Joanne Smith doesn’t know where to turn next for the new kidney that she needs, but she’s hoping someone will learn of her plight and step up to the plate.

“Somebody told me I should go up to the copy store at the top of the street and have them make up stickers to put on our family cars saying I need a kidney and that have the phone number,” said Smith, who lives on Hoxsie Avenue.

Smith moved to Warwick from her birthplace of Warren in 1969 when she married her husband, George. The two will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year.

Smith worked at the Warwick Library for 33 years in the circulation department, a job she remembers fondly. “I loved it,” she said. “I liked the people I worked with but I also liked the patrons.”

She retired about five years ago to take care of her ailing father. Unfortunately, Smith’s own health would take a downturn as she was diagnosed with diabetes a couple of years back. Now, as that has progressed, she requires dialysis treatment and is on a long kidney donor waitlist.

“My husband [got tested to see if he was a match for donorship] but they wouldn't let him because he had stomach surgery years ago,” Smith said, adding that her kids have been ruled out as potential donors as well due to having high blood pressure.

Although she is moving up the waitlist slowly, she hopes that by asking for help, she just might be able to get off the list entirely. Smith can be contacted by phone at 401-738-1040. You may also contact Sarah Dibbs at the Division of Transplant Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital at 401-444-3091.

“I just would like to thank my two kidney doctors [Dr. Christopher Cosgrove and Dr. Daniel Dragomire],” Smith added. “They are wonderful. They are so great.”


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Hi Joanne,

I am so sorry to hear about your health issues. I have also been on the wait list for a kidney and received a transplant in 2008. I 100% agree that you should advertise and get the word out! Thankfully, we live in an age where there are a few different options for those that are waiting and sometimes it just comes down to knowledge and timing.

There are special programs for Living Donor Transplantation. Live Donor to Deceased Donor Waiting List Exchange. This program is a way for a living donor to benefit a loved one, even if their blood or tissue types do not match. The donor gives a kidney to another patient who has a compatible blood type and is at the top of the kidney waiting list for a "deceased donor" kidney. In exchange, that donor's relative or friend would move to a higher position on the deceased donor waiting list, a position equal to that of the patient who received the donor's kidney.

There is also the Paired Exchange Kidney Transplant (Family Swap). A "paired exchange" allows patients who have willing but incompatible donors to "exchange" kidneys with one another-the kidneys just go to different recipients than usually expected.

Blood Type Incompatible Kidney Transplant and Positive Crossmatch and Sensitized Patient Kidney Transplant. This is a program that lets patients receive a kidney from a living donor who has an incompatible blood type. To be able to receive such a kidney, patients must undergo several treatments before and after the transplant to remove the harmful antibodies that can lead to rejection of the transplanted kidney.

I wish you the best of luck and will keep you in my prayers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018