The opioid epidemic killed more than 64,000 Americans in 2017, and from 2015-2016 there was a 277 percent increase in kidney donors who had died from overdosing on opioids. About 20% of those kidneys were infected with Hepatitis C (HVC).
Jason Lytle of North Providence, Rhode Island had been on dialysis for two years and was having 50-60 boxes of fluid delivered to his apartment each month. Between undergoing 8-10 hours of dialysis every night and lacking the energy to play with his 4-year-old daughter, Jason was ready to try a new program at Massachusetts General Hospital—transplanting HVC infected kidneys to non HVC infected patients.
Mass General has performed HVC infected kidneys to HVC infected patients for years, but new drugs give doctors the ability to cure the disease and treat the organs before they’re transplanted.
Since the transplant, Jason’s health is “better than it has ever been,” and he “can’t find the words to thank the family that saved his life.”