Why Do So Many Donated Kidneys End Up in the Trash? (Freakonomics, M.D. Ep. 11)

November 11, 2021 @ 11:00pm


Every year, thousands of people in the U.S. die while they’re waiting for a new kidney, yet thousands of available organs get thrown away. Bapu talks to a kidney doctor and an economics Nobel laureate about why this happens and how the system could improve.

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Relevant Research & References

Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode:


Sumit Mohan, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University.
Alvin Roth, professor of economics at Stanford University.


“In a First, Surgeons Attached a Pig Kidney to a Human, and It Worked,” by Roni Caryn Rabin (The New York Times, 2021).
“Quality Metrics in Kidney Transplantation: Current Landscape, Trials and Tribulations, Lessons Learned, and a Call for Reform,” by Jesse D. Schold, Rachel E. Patzer, Timothy L. Pruett, and Sumit Mohan (American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 2019).
“Disparities in Acceptance of Deceased Donor Kidneys Between the United States and France and Estimated Effects of Increased US Acceptance,” by Olivier Aubert, Peter P. Reese, Benoit Audry, Yassine Bouatou, Marc Raynaud, Denis Viglietti, Christophe Legendre, Denis Glotz, Jean-Phillipe Empana, Xavier Jouven, Carmen Lefaucheur, Christian Jacquelinet, and Alexandre Loupy (JAMA, 2019).
“Report of National Kidney Foundation Consensus Conference to Decrease Kidney Discards,” by Matthew Cooper, Richard Formica, John Friedewald, Ryutaro Hirose, Kevin O’Connor, Sumit Mohan, Jesse Schold, David Axelrod, and Stephen Pastan (Clinical Transplantation, 2018).
“Measuring Transplant Center Performance: The Goals Are Not Controversial but the Methods and Consequences Can Be,” by Colleen Jay and Jesse D. Schold (Current Transplantation Reports, 2017).
“The Wider Public Health Value of HCV Treatment Accrued by Liver Transplant Recipients,” by Anupam B. Jena, Warren Stevens, Yuri Sanchez Gonzalez, Steven E. Marx, Timothy Juday, Darius N. Lakdawalla, and Tomas J. Philipson (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2016).
“Association Between Kidney Transplant Center Performance and the Survival Benefit of Transplantation Versus Dialysis,” by Jesse D. Schold, Laura D. Buccini, David A. Goldfarb, Stuart M. Flechner, Emilio D. Poggio, and Ashwini R. Sehgal (Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2014).
“Impact of Cadaveric Renal Transplantation on Survival in Patients Listed for Transplantation,” by Gabriel C Oniscu, Helen Brown, and John L R Forsythe (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 2005).


Tags: Alvin Roth, Bapu Jena, Jessica Wapner, Sumit Mohan

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