"Great care during a Kidney Transplant at Royal Free - and the wonderful gift of having a new kidney "

About: Royal Free Hospital / Nephrology

(as the patient),

It was Friday the first of July 2005 at about 7pm in the evening. The phone went and my wife told me it was the renal registrar at the Royal Free on the phone I thought I was going to get the usual telling off because my diet had not been compliant and my blood levels were high.

.I had been a kidney dialysis patient for 10 years dialysing 3 times a week on a dialysis machine which took up about 6 hours in total each time; the day after dialysis I was absolutely drained and then back on dialysis again the following day; and so the regime carried on week after week year after year. I had been waiting for a donor kidney for the past 8 years and with 6500 other people on the waiting list I had long given up any hope of getting a transplant. In fact that very afternoon I had told my mother-in-law that I felt so lousy even if I was offered a kidney I felt too unwell to go through the operation.

The renal registrar informed me that a kidney had come up for which I was the best ‘match’; there was no rush to get up there as they were doing further tests and in any case the operation wouldn’t start till 7:30am the following morning. As I left the house 15 minutes later I was in a bit of a daze as it had all happened so quickly.

On arrival at the Royal Free I was booked in and the operation took place at 7:30am the following morning. Because of complications during the transplant I ended up in theatre for over 5 hours and spent the following 2 days in Intensive Care purely as a precautionary measure. I was told that the donor was a 15 year old boy and about a week later the boys parents phoned the National Transplant Centre wanting to know about who got the organ.

I wrote the following letter to the parents which I gave to the transplant co-ordinator to forward as the donors details were witheld:

Dear Donor’s parents,

This is the most difficult letter I have ever written. I cannot imagine your personal loss, but being a parent myself, no ordeal is worse than you have both had to endure.

I cannot thank you enough for making the very difficult decision to donate, it will make the most amazing difference to my life and give me back a quality of life I have not enjoyed for 10 years.

I hope it is some consolation to you that your tragedy became my miracle. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

In conclusion I cannot praise the Royal Free Hospital enough. All the treatment was highly professional and the brand new ward environment with air conditioning etc really helped my recovery. I am now on a very strict regime of drugs including immuno-suppressants and steroids however I feel extremely healthy. Because one deteriorates slowly on dialysis you don’t realise how ill you were until you make a sudden return to good health.

It is now eighteen months since the transplant and the kidney is functioning well.

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Response from Care Opinion 17 years ago
Submitted on 11/05/2007 at 12:39

If you would like to see videos of patients and families talking about their experiences of intensive care please click here .
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