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Not to be tested as a tissue match for estranged brother who needs kidney?

(229 Posts)
GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 11-Jul-13 12:53:25

My husbands brother is 28 and having dialysis (?) 3 times a week, we aren't in contact with him, haven't been for years, no big bust up, he was just a bit of a wanker as a teenager, and identifies as a communist so there was no reason to see him again when we moved. We have only seen his mother twice in 10 years.

My husband still speaks with his mother (the are Scandinavian) and she told him a while ago that its getting to the point where he will need a transplant and my husband straight away said to count him out.

She was horrified and got upset. My husband said he doesn't want to go over to be tested as there is no point and we haven't heard from her for a while but I can see it being brought up again if she isn't a match. (she is diabetic anyway)

Im relieved he feels this way of course, but didn't forbid it or anything. I was reminded by the organ thread and just wondered what you would do? As we are quite cut-off I can only see one point of view. Ours. I hope we aren't being unreasonable... I don't think so

purpleroses Thu 11-Jul-13 13:18:19

If I was your DH, I would find out (online or from GP) what the chances of being a match are. If they are low, then I would definitely get tested, because it would give an opportunity for a future relationship with his DM and DB - he could make it clear at the time that he's undecided whether he'd actually donate. If he refuses to be tested I think he'll probably lose both relationships.

If the chances of being a match are high though, then there's not so much point in testing unless he would be prepared to give a kidney.

Itsjustafleshwound Thu 11-Jul-13 13:18:40

Hijack again...

Flatpack hamster - sometimes the fact that there are people with opposing views to our own and with 'different' and personally morally objectionable views to me a d are able to express them makes this place great.

Denying someone a kidney because you don't agree with their politics is like being back in the old regime where men were hanged for daring to have different views.

TheCraicDealer Thu 11-Jul-13 13:22:00

A lot of people are giving him the benefit of the doubt and saying that even though he was an arse as a teenager he shouldn't be punished for it as an adult. Well he's 28 now, he's had plenty of time to decide what's important to him and to invest time or effort in those things. And he's made it clear that his brother and SIL are not on that list. So why should his DB make such a sacrifice for someone who shows such disinterest?

TotallyBursar Thu 11-Jul-13 13:24:00

I would have donated to my extended and not very close family (and did in fact have a much more minor bone marrow transplant before my own health needed treatment) and I was fine with that and the continuing lack of relationship - I didn't want her to die but I still think she's a cock.

Now I am a mother, my family need me more and there are significant risks to being a kidney donor that include health impacts later in life.
I'm sure many will not agree with me but, in our case, I would not be happy if DH put the needs of his family (a wife that needs her husband and children that need their father) below the need of an estranged sibling who is one person, not 7 or however many in your family in a situation that may mean losing them both or having a dh that needs a carer, can't work or becomes ill himself with no guarantee brother will accept the transplant or remain stable.
Also if he agrees under duress to be tested and is a match but does not want to donate then that is a terribly unfair amount of pressure to put on his shoulders - all the unknowns, the chances of failure, the risks of losing them both will be disregarded because he 'didn't save Johnny'. No, I wouldn't ask that of anyone.

I assume we know brother in Sweden has made conciliatory noises, perhaps along with his mother, and been rebuffed before we call op's DH names? I didn't see anywhere that said so. It's not unheard of for wanky teens to mature into full blown wanky adults - I have a fair few of them around the Christmas table. Awful diseases or sadnesses can happen to not very charming people too. Not saying brother still is any of these things - but I have no current judgement, there's got to be more context tbh.

dreamingbohemian Thu 11-Jul-13 13:25:02

I think he was unreasonable to not even think about it, to just immediately say no. Plenty of people are wankers when they're teenagers, should that doom them for life?

I would think of it not as doing something for his brother, but for his mother. I can't imagine telling your mother she has to watch her son die because you don't want to even be tested to see if you could save his life.

TotallyBursar Thu 11-Jul-13 13:27:47

Sorry x posts there - really slow internet today.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 11-Jul-13 13:28:27

I haven't seen my sister for 12 years....haven't fallen out, just have nothing in common.
I have no particular feelings about her....wouldn't donate an organ for her. I would for my dh and dcs.
I am a donor carrier.

CheeseFondueRocks Thu 11-Jul-13 13:28:50

I'd find out what exactly the risks are of being a live donor. If you feel they are too big, you can explain to MIL why DH can't be a donor.

Outright declining is something the family will probably not forgive if BIL dies. This doesn't mean I think your DH should donate, just that his explanation needs to be worded diplomatically,

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 11-Jul-13 13:28:52

donor card carrier

TimeofChange Thu 11-Jul-13 13:29:04

I know someone who donated a kidney to a sibling.

The recovery was far, far longer than she thought it would be.

It changed her personality for the worse.
She became very cantankerous (hormonal).

She had to change her life style permanently ie stop drinking alcohol.

It is a bigger op than she was led to believe.

Many medics in the USA are against live organ donations.

AnnieLobeseder Thu 11-Jul-13 13:30:44

I would give a kidney to any other human being who needed one to survive, without a second thought.

(well, unless they were a convicted murderer, paedophile, rapist, terrorist etc -anyone who had knowingly and willingly hurt other human beings).

I'm slightly amazed how many people wouldn't.

dreamingbohemian Thu 11-Jul-13 13:31:16


The difference between Nazism and communism is that the very ideology of Nazis/neo-Nazis is infused with hatred, racism, eliminationist aims, etc. Communist ideology is not inherently evil, although obviously many communist regimes have been just as bad as the Nazis.

I've known quite a few communists, they do things like run soup kitchens and organise demos against the welfare cuts and stuff like that. (Don't really see the BNP out there feeding the homeless do you?)

So no, I don't think cutting someone off because they're a communist necessarily makes sense. If he's going around saying let's kill all the kulaks, fine, but most likely, like a lot of teenagers, he's attracted to the social justice aspects of the ideology, not the genocidal maniacs of the past.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 11-Jul-13 13:34:05

If he is a supporter of actual currently or previously existing 'communist' regimes (which are invariably corrupt dictatorships anyway) and the way people are treated and that people are killed then that's dreadful, every bit as dreadful as being a supporter of the nazi party.

But when people who live in capitalist countries say they are communists, what they normally mean is the ideal of socialism, not the reality of communism.

The whole from each according to ability, to each according to need dream of a Utopia where everyone has everything they need and all work cooperatively for the good of the whole society.

dreamingbohemian Thu 11-Jul-13 13:34:31

Interesting, this is what the NHS says about it:

Are there any risks to me?

All operations carry some risk and this is no different for living donation. Donors are at risk of infections (eg chest, wound or urine) and, more rarely, bleeding or blood clots. There is a very small risk of death for the donor: this is estimated at 1 in 3,000 for this operation.

Are there any long-term risks?

There is a small possibility of a slight rise in blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. However studies have shown that there is no long-term effect on the health of the donor or your remaining kidney.

Am I at greater risk of developing kidney failure?

You are at no greater risk of developing kidney failure after donating than anyone in the general population.

Will it shorten my lifespan?

Studies have shown that donors live longer than the average population. This is because donors are selected on the basis of good health and are thoroughly screened prior to donation.

Will I have to change my lifestyle after donating?

No. You should lead a normal healthy life as before.

HipHipHippoNotSo Thu 11-Jul-13 13:34:48

I'm in shock .

So your Dh is basically willing to let his brother die because he was an arse as a teenager & his political views .
That is just unbelievable, not only could he save a life he could save his brothers life !!
Why on earth is this been questioned when every day people donate to complete strangers .
I'm a registered Donor & I would donate to anybody no matter what their political views may be or how much of an arse they had been , I have a lot of family that I can't stand the sight of but if one of them needed a donation to live I would be their right away .

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 11-Jul-13 13:34:54

grin x post, dreaming. Although you said it far better.

skylerwhite Thu 11-Jul-13 13:37:30


Totalitarianism is not the same thing as communism. And like dreamingbohemian pointed out, communism is not an inherently evil ideology.

It's your husband's body, so it's his choice. I couldn't imagine allowing a sibling to die without even being tested to see if I was a match. But each to their own.

dreamingbohemian Thu 11-Jul-13 13:38:43

No I didn't Hecsy but thanks smile Glad I'm not the only one who knows some nice gentle commies!

dreamingbohemian Thu 11-Jul-13 13:39:40

By the way, with respect to the 1 in 3000 death rate, the death rate from C sections seems to be 1 in 2500. Just to give you a comparison.

Mama1980 Thu 11-Jul-13 13:40:09

I would donate a organ to anyone who needed it (Bar murderers) regardless of whether I was related or liked them or not. I am on the donor card register and would donate bone marrow, blood etc. if I could.
It is his choice and I respect that but I don't understand how he could take such a position.

FrameyMcFrame Thu 11-Jul-13 13:42:29

If your husband is not interested in saving his brothers life, no matter what their differences I think that is very cold.
Could he even think it through with medical advice/?

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Thu 11-Jul-13 13:43:44

I am one grin

I would love mankind to exist in a cooperative state, all giving what we could to the best of our ability, working together for the collective good and taking what we need.

I grew up watching star trek wink

I don't think it's ever happened though. I can't think of a single communist country that operates according to the ideals of socialism.

TotallyBursar Thu 11-Jul-13 13:43:50

Annie - I used to agree with you and as I said have donated in the past.
If I was still single or DH was in agreement I still would but now there would have to be exceptional circumstances (well my child only pretty much as not a match for DH) for me to risk leaving my family mother and wifeless - the memory of me being a really selfless person isn't going to cut much mustard as my children grow without me.
I am willing to accept that makes me a bad person in some people's eyes.

I carried a donor card all the time I was allowed to. Live donation is a different kettle of fish.

On the flipside I have already made the choice to live on palliative care when the time comes and not accept an organ. So be it, I will not ask of another what I won't ask of myself. If an organ from a deceased person was a match and my children are still young I may reassess but I doubt it.
I am not going to condemn op's DH for his choice - there are lots of variables.

GoodTouchBadTouch Thu 11-Jul-13 13:46:04

Thanks for all the replies, really interesting, and Im pleased we are not completely U.

My husband didn't refuse because brother was a teen wanker, or because he has a tattoo of Che Guevara. Just because they don't have a relationship at all. It started with constant rows about my husband getting a degree and being an elitist, so we left it there when we moved.

He may well be a great guy these days, who knows. But we have different lives that's for sure, and from what we hear, brother is still likely to be offended by ours.

My husband isn't close to his mum really, and has no contact with his father (also quite aggressively communist) but I do take on board how sad it must be for his mother... Bloody hope Im never in that position.

The diabetes is type 2, she is very very overweight so its not hereditary

The reason he says flat out that he wont be tested is because he wouldn't do it anyway and like you say totallyBursar wouldn't want the situation where he could be the one to save him.. if it came to that.

Will look up stats. Thanks again

chicaguapa Thu 11-Jul-13 13:47:20

Yes, YABU to not even consider it.

If having looked into what's involved, he decides that it's a big risk and he wants to put his own family first, fair enough. But to refuse point blank at the outset when his own mother looks set to lose one of her sons is properly shock to me I'm afraid.

If my DH had that attitude in similar circumstances, it would affect our relationship and I would LTB. It displays an inherent level of selfishness that I wouldn't be able to live with I'm afraid.

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