NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He gave the gift of life, but in return didn’t get the gift of time off.
A Brooklyn man found it difficult to get the days off to recover after donating his kidney to a stranger. Now he wants to see change, CBSN New York’s Mary Calvi reported Tuesday.
Stefan Trotman is still recovering after major surgery, but is finally back on his feet, which is a good thing, since he doesn’t plan on taking on his new fight sitting down.
“I am hoping the city wakes up and puts something into place,” Trotman said.
The 29-year-old Midwood man lost more than 200 pounds so he could be healthy enough to donate a kidney to a stranger. He underwent the surgery in June, but said all of that was the easy part. Finding time off to recover was difficult.
“It wasn’t going to stop me from donating, because the person needed my kidney more than I needed the time off from work,” Trotman said.
Trotman is an amateur photographer, but works as a field technician for the NYPD. Since it’s a city agency, there is no law granting him paid time off after donating an organ.
“I think this is just something that might have been overlooked along the process,” Trotman said.
The NYPD temporarily moved him to a different position, where he could get paid for the month to recover, instead of using personal time. But employment discrimination attorney Vincent White said the law is failing him and many others.
“He is doing his very best. He is taking a huge risk to make the world a better place and we’re not really standing behind him,” White said.
Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation that puts organ donation under the state Paid Family Leave Act, but city employees are left out completely.
“Obviously, [Trotman] is a hero, but the state, when they rolled out this law, thought it was too onerous to put that on small cities. Obviously, New York City is not really a small city,” White said.
Thanks to the NYPD, Trotman got lucky, but he thinks if the law doesn’t change fewer people will become live organ donors. There are more than 90,000 people on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant, alone.
“Even if it’s not 30 days, even if it’s just 15, something to accommodate people willing to do this thing for someone else,” Trotman said.
He’s looking for anything to accommodate the gift of life.
Trotman plans on going back to work in a few weeks. He’s hoping to one day meet the stranger he donated his kidney to, but there’s no set plan just yet.