Medical organizations push to correct racial disparities in algorithm that made Black people wait longer for kidneys

A Bridgeport nonprofit is helping the Black community get the “gift of life.”

Frank Recchia and Nicole Alarcon Soares

Apr 17, 2024, 9:56 PM

Updated 33 days ago


A Bridgeport woman who waited 10 years to get a kidney transplant is speaking out about a move in the medical community to correct racial disparities in the testing process.
The National Kidney Foundation says it has been pushing hard to change the testing process so that protocols within the algorithms used are "race-neutral."
Bridgeport Dialysis patient Melonie Scott, of Bridgeport, was taken off the waiting list to get a kidney after she developed cancer.
Scott is questioning if she was impacted by what the medical community is describing as "racial disparities in the testing process" that allegedly made Black people wait longer for organ donation.
Scott says she waited for a decade but was taken off the list after her cancer diagnosis.
She says she was horrified to learn about an investigative report by the Associated Press revealing that a raced-based algorithm that was once widely used in the medical community for years was giving Black patients who needed kidney transplants a lower priority, which meant longer wait times to receive the gift of life.
"How many people have died because they didn't have that opportunity? That's what I think about, how many people have passed on because of this algorithm," said Scott.
A local nonprofit is working to correct this issue and help people get the “gift of life.”
Jen Benson of the Transplant Journey Inc says she attended a recent UNOS Conference where everybody was focused on adopting testing protocols that will be uniformly race-neutral.
"And I think that's fabulous because there are so many patients and doctors that have spoken up against this, and I think that's a step in the right direction for the transplant community," said Benson.

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