A Missouri lawmaker is recovering at a hospital, after undergoing successful surgery on Wednesday to donate a kidney.

State Rep. J. Eggleston speaks on the Missouri House floor in May 2017 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

State Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, had surgery to donate a kidney through what’s called the kidney paired donation program.

He donated it for his wife Cathie, but not directly to her. Eggleston donated a kidney as part of a three-way trade to help his wife and two others who need kidneys.

Eggleston praises the program.

“The recipient’s insurance is what pays for the (kidney) donor’s medical bills,” Eggleston says. “So if somebody is thinking maybe they don’t want to donate because of the costs, that cost is covered by the recipient’s insurance.”

Eggleston spoke to Missourinet last week, before his surgery. His wife has suffered from kidney disease.

On Wednesday, Representative Eggleston’s kidney went to a Michigan patient, the Michigan recipient’s friend donated a kidney to another recipient, and that recipient’s friend donated a kidney to Eggleston’s wife.

Eggleston says he couldn’t donate his kidney directly to his wife because their blood chemistries were not compatible.

“And what KPD (kidney paired donation) is is it takes our information, our blood information, puts it in a database and they use that to compare to other pairs who are like us, who would like to give to each other but aren’t a match, and try to find a way to match us up with another pair in a similar situation so we can trade kidneys,” says Eggleston.

Eggleston tells Missourinet the kidney paired donation program increases the number of living donors by matching incompatible pairs like the Egglestons with opposite incompatible pairs, so the two pairs can share kidneys.

Eggleston, who represents northwest Missouri’s Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry and Harrison counties in the House, says about 18,000 people receive a kidney transplant annually in the United States.

“12,000 through deceased kidneys where folks have elected to be an organ donor when they went to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles),” Eggleston says. “And I would certainly encourage everyone to give serious consideration to that.”

Eggleston also says about 100,000 people are on the waiting list for a new kidney.

Eggleston’s wife’s kidney function was down to just 15 percent, before the surgery.

He says his staff is handling constituent calls and that other state representatives will handle his bills, while he recovers in the hospital.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and State Rep. J. Eggleston, which was recorded on January 11, 2018: