ENDOCRINE

Fundraising for Maine kidney donor causes surgery delay

  • In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Josh Dall-Leighton, holding his son Christopher, hugs Christine Royles as they meet for the first time, at his home in Windham, Maine. (AP Photo/Portland Press Herald, Susan Kimball)

    In this Tuesday, March 24, 2015 photo, Josh Dall-Leighton, holding his son Christopher, hugs Christine Royles as they meet for the first time, at his home in Windham, Maine. (AP Photo/Portland Press Herald, Susan Kimball)

  • This Nov. 20, 2014 photo provided by WMTW-TV shows the message written by Christine Royles of South Portland, Maine, on the back of her vehicle in which she sought a kidney donor. (AP Photo/WMTW-TV, Kevyn Fowler)

    This Nov. 20, 2014 photo provided by WMTW-TV shows the message written by Christine Royles of South Portland, Maine, on the back of her vehicle in which she sought a kidney donor. (AP Photo/WMTW-TV, Kevyn Fowler)

A fundraising effort on behalf of a kidney donor is putting on hold surgery for a Maine woman who found the donor by painting a personal plea on her car's rear window.

The donor, Josh Dall-Leighton of Windham, and his wife tell the Portland Press Herald (http://bit.ly/1Gs1WIM ) that Maine Medical Center officials informed them this week that they have concerns about the amount of money raised for them.

Christine Royles of South Portland, who's suffering from kidney failure, organized fundraisers for Dall-Leighton to pay bills and to reimburse unpaid time away from work. Someone else established an online fund that aimed to raise $6,000 but ballooned to more than $40,000.

While the contributors meant well, the mere appearance that someone could be profiting from an organ donation raises ethical concerns because it's illegal to sell organs, said Dr. Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University School of Medicine.

"As a hospital, you can't be associated in any way with anything that could be construed as the sale of a kidney," he said.

A hospital spokeswoman declined comment.

Dall-Leighton was scheduled for a final compatibility test Wednesday. Instead, he and his wife were advised that they should donate the money, and officials expressed concerns that all of the attention would make it hard for him to back out of the donations, he said.

"I felt attacked, like I had done something wrong," he said.

Royles has a 59-year-old uncle in Syracuse, New York, who's a potential match, but Dall-Leighton is considered to be a much stronger candidate.

For now, further testing is on hold. "I don't know what to feel," said Royles, who lives in South Portland. "I think I'm just kind of in shock."