Our family has had nine members with fsgs (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis), a form of kidney disease. My grandmother, father, and uncle had died of this disease and Joe would be the sixth family member to have a transplant. His surgery was being done during kidney donation month. The clinic decided to use Joe's transplant to promote kidney donation at the Cleveland Clinic.

Chris and Joe were very healthy and they expected no complications, so they were picked for this surgery. They were going to film this for Unos (United Network for Organ Sharing), an organization that oversees the distribution of cadaver and living organs in the United States. Cleveland Clinic employees and doctors from other hospitals would also be observing. We hesitated, but were assured that they would have the best transplant team and good care because of this.

The only thing that came out of this was the Cleveland Clinic employees constantly calling our home and asking about our sad family history, dredging up bad memories, and making a three ring circus out of something that should have been a happy occasion since Joe was getting a new kidney. They wanted to know if my Dad had been in the Cleveland Clinic when he died so they could look up his records, for what reason we don't know.

It was so disorganized even at that point that no one knew what the others were doing and the calls just kept coming. We started to hesitate about having the surgery done in the spotlight, but we hung on because we thought Joe and Chris would be watched over since they were filming this.

During this time we did not need a constant reminder of our family legacy of kidney disease. It was sad enough that Joe had this disease at all; but they didn't care about anything but the big publicity circus and the money it would make for them.

They also wanted to film our family having genetic research done for publicity for the clinic.  Our entire family came, even our nephews' children and we were filmed going into the genetic counseling office. The only reason we agreed to do this at all was because of the next generation of children. They were filmed as potential kidney patients of the future. But it was disgusting and heartbreaking filming these kids this way.

During the filming they were saying "The Cleveland Clinic is helping this family find the cause of kidney disease in their family." The only thing they did for us was to try to "help" us out of  the $2,000.00 they wanted one of us to pay to have one chromosome tested, not even being sure it was the right one. None of us had that kind of money. They suggested we all chip in to pay for this. Don't they have research grants for this?

They took blood and urine from everyone for some testing and we filled out some papers about our individual health histories. When they sent us the copies of the papers we filled out, everyone had someone else's copy. They couldn't even get that straight. We never heard another word about it, with the exception that they went so far as to want to finish the interviews after Joe's kidney was dead.  More publicity for themselves. What did they think we had to say then?

They just used and abused us and threw us to the curb when they were done. Do you ever see them advertising anything but what can benefit them. New medical techniques that they are supposedly the best at when someone else has already done it. Celebrities that come there and are used to bring attention to their hospital. The Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians whom they contribute to so they can have their name in the background. Then the players are forced to come there for care when they're injured, and they give them staph infections. People like us they can use and then ignore when they screw up. But the patients are the people that come there with their insurance and keep the hospital running. The money from the celebrities are used to build new buildings with their names on it.

Has anyone ever seen the gruesome pictures in the skyway of their early 19th century surgeries? Someone who was injured there told me the place reminded them of early 19th century institutions where they experimented on people. I guess not much has changed there since that time, it's just covered now with fancy walls and artwork and phony advertisements, but they still do the same gruesome procedures.

The satellite centers and family health centers that the clinics run are put in small cities. Their purpose is to see patients there and then tell them they need to go to the main campus in Cleveland for surgery or additional procedures. Therefore, more profit for the Clinic.

The transplant patients are in many cases seen by the transplant surgeons for years afterward. They are not qualified to monitor post kidney transplant patients. They know the surgical part and the nephrologists monitor the working of the kidney. Cleveland Clinic pays no attention to what is going on or the welfare of its patients. They spend so much time bragging about outcomes that are mostly hype. They hire high dollar surgeons to do surgery and charge you for it, when in reality the students are the ones operating on you with little or no experience.

My sister Norma had a kidney transplant at the clinic 20 some years ago that had a blood clot in it and the kidney had to be removed because it stopped functioning. She was going through a divorce at the time and was depressed because she lost the kidney. They had her on drugs for her nerves and the side effects left her very confused. They were going to put her in the psychiatric ward until my mother and older sister came and stopped them. You really have to have someone to watch over you there or who knows what might happen to you.

Several months after Joe's horrific hospital stay, the clinic came up with the idea of filming us for a health channel show. Joe and his Aunt Carol were on dialysis at the time. They wanted to go to the dialysis center, where Joe was because they killed his kidney, and film him and Carol having dialysis treatments. Then they wanted to live with each family for a couple of days and see what it was like living as kidney patients. Unbelievable! They would not leave us alone in our misery even then. Did they want to see how heartbroken and angry we were about what had happened. How you can only drink a couple of glasses of water a day, and be deprived of the foods you like. How you come home from dialysis sick and aching and sore from the treatments. All because they killed his first kidney. Of course, we said no. They are malicious, and inhuman and out for themselves.

The kidney, lung, pancreas, and liver transplants have fallen to the wayside now. Their only value is if they can draw in publicity. The newest advertising venture is the heart transplants and related heart procedures. This is the pet project of the upper class at the Clinic and why the new building was built. The clinic investigates what the US News and World Report is basing their ratings on. This year it's heart procedures, ergo the new heart center.

 The kidney transplant department was given a small corner of the new building and their hospital patients are still housed in the old dirty part of the hospital. But in spite of all this, the heart transplant patients are still not happy campers. Some of them have remarked that they would rather die than go back there for treatment.

They have no compassion whatsoever. Their own interests are their only priority, not the patients. Money and publicity is their God.

Toby Cosgrove does not like fat people, poor people, black people, or people with no insurance; just rich upper class people who can donate money to his hospital.