UPDATES: August 5, 2010

In December, 2009, we reported that 30 Rock regular Grizzwald “Grizz” Chapman had revealed on the Dr. Oz Show that he has kidney failure due to untreated high blood pressure and receives dialysis three times a week. We are now happy to report that Chapman underwent a successful kidney transplant one month ago at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center. His spokesperson, Anne Finn, reports that Chapman will speak today at that hospital’s event observing National Minority Organ Donor Awareness Day.  According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health :

“The need for transplants is unusually high among some ethnic minorities. Some diseases of the kidney, heart, lung, pancreas, and liver that can lead to organ failure are found more frequently in ethnic minority populations than in the general population. For example, Native Americans are four times more likely than Whites to suffer from diabetes. African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics are three times more likely than Whites to suffer from kidney disease. Many African Americans have high blood pressure (hypertension) which can lead to kidney failure. Some of these diseases are best treated through transplantation; others can only be treated through transplantation.

The rate of organ donation in minority communities does not keep pace with the number needing transplants. Although minorities donate in proportion to their share of the population, their need for transplants is much greater. African Americans, for example, are about 13 percent of the population, about 12 percent of donors, and about 23 percent of the kidney waiting list.

Successful transplantation is often enhanced by matching of organs between members of the same racial and ethnic group. Generally, people are genetically more similar to people of their own ethnicity or race than to people of other races. Therefore, matches are more likely and more timely when donors and potential recipients are members of the same ethnic background.

Minority patients may have to wait longer for matched kidneys and therefore may be sicker at the time of transplant or die waiting. With more donated organs from minorities, finding a match will be quicker and the waiting time will be reduced.”


One month ago, we reported that author Christopher Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Besides that nude cover picture of Lady Gaga, this month’s Vanity Fair has a very interesting first-person account by Hitchens about receiving the diagnosis of cancer, entitled “Topic of Cancer.”  According to Vanity Fair:

“One fine June day, the author is launching his best-selling memoir, Hitch-22. The next, he’s throwing up backstage at The Daily Show, in a brief bout of denial, before entering the unfamiliar country—with its egalitarian spirit, martial metaphors, and hard bargains of people who have cancer.”

To read the article (which I wholeheartedly recommend), click here.

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.


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