Hospital Puts Life-Saving Kidney Donation On Hold For Maine Mother Over GoFundMe Concerns

A Maine mother with failing kidneys wants to live to see her son grow into adulthood. Therefore, after having no luck finding a kidney by means of the traditional “donor list,” Christine Royles took matters into her own hands. She wrote a plea for help on her car. Surprisingly, a kind stranger, Josh Dall-Leighton, saw the request and decided he wanted to help the mother. He was a donor match and offered to give one of his kidneys to the dying woman. However, the hospital has placed the life-saving kidney transplant on hold over concerns of a GoFundMe account setup by one of Josh’s friends, as they say Josh can either give the hospital or another organization the money as a “donation” or they cannot perform the transplant.

WMTW reports that Josh Dall-Leighton saw a mother’s desperate plea on her car windshield asking for potential kidney donors to get tested as a possible match. Josh obliged and was determined to be a match for Christine Royles and agreed to donate one of his kidneys to the ailing mother. However, after offering to donate the kidney, one of Josh’s friends set up a GoFundMe account in his honor. The idea of the GoFundMe account was to raise money for Josh’s family while he recovered from the major surgery. Josh would be unable to work for an extended period of time following the transplant and would likely be sick off and on after his kidney was removed. Therefore, the friend wanted Josh and his family to have a nest egg of financial support during the rough times for the kind donation to a stranger.

However, the Maine Medical Center, whose Maine Transplant Program is performing the surgery, says that they have put the kidney donation on hold after learning about the GoFundMe efforts. The hospital says that under federal law, a donor cannot be paid to donate an organ. Josh’s wife, Ashley, says it is sad that Christine may not get the kidney she desperately needs over their friend’s attempted kindness towards their family. She notes that Josh offered to donate the kidney and went through all testing procedures before the GoFundMe account was setup.

“It’s potentially Christine’s life. Putting the pause on the situation when obviously that wasn’t our intention in any way. He wanted to just be a good example for our kids.”

The GoFundMe account had a modest goal of $6,000, which would help the family pay their bills while Josh recovered. However, strangers who learned about Josh’s kind donation through media coverage ended up donating a whopping $48,000 to the kind man. The large amount of donations is what has caused the issue for Maine Medical, who say it could appear that Josh was paid to donate his organ. Therefore, they have offered the family a solution: simply donate all the GoFundMe funds to the hospital or another organization and they will perform the surgery.

The hospital told Josh that they cannot in good conscience take his donation after the large amounts of funds raised as it may affect his decision to donate.

“[The hospital] said the program told them that they should donate the money to other organizations, and suggested that all the attention he’s been getting may make him feel like he wouldn’t be able to back out of the donation.”

What do you think about the hospital’s decision to put a hold on the life-saving kidney donation over funds raised through GoFundMe for the transplant donor? What solution do you think would be best for everyone involved?

[Image Credit: GoFundMe]