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Contest Entries

Kidney Failure: The Anarchy of Living Organ Donation

Entrants: Josephine Marcotty

Affiliation: Star Tribune

Metro Newspapers

Year: 2009

Place: Honorable Mention

Provide a brief synopsis of the story or stories, including any significant findings.

Today, half of all kidney donors are living donors – altruistic individuals who can give a patient a kidney almost overnight, and a kidney that is much healthier than organs from the deceased. But unlike the carefully regulated system for allocating organs from deceased donors, there is no system for allocating organs from living donors. Instead, the search for a living donor is a free-for-all – a Wild West where desperate patients rent billboards, put their pleas in church bulletins, buy space on the Internet and tell their stories on TV talk shows.

This entry was named an honorable mention. The judges called it "A thorough and involving exploration of a major public health crisis-the shortage of kidneys for transplant and the desperate plight of those on the waiting lists. Marcotty delivers rich human interest by focusing on local kidney patients. At the same time, she provides the big picture on this national crisis and deftly unpacks the many medical and ethical issues involved."

Read "Kidney Failure: The Anarchy of Living Organ Donation"

See the contest questionnaire in which the reporter writes about how this story was reported.

In an article exclusively for AHCJ, Marcotty shares tips on how she reported this project.