Tuesday 24 November, 2020

More kidney donors needed

Dr Margaret O'Shea operates with Mr Nick Inston during the kidney transplant at the QEH on Tuesday.

Dr Margaret O'Shea operates with Mr Nick Inston during the kidney transplant at the QEH on Tuesday.

Barbadians are being encouraged to come forward to donate kidneys and consider transplants as a main option to treat end-stage kidney disease.

The appeal came from Dr Margaret O’Shea, who headed the surgical team at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) who, in collaboration with Transplant Links Community (TLC) charity, successfully performed its third living-donor kidney transplant at the QEH on Tuesday.

The surgery, which is free of cost to the patient, was performed on a young woman who received a kidney from her mother. Both are doing well and are expected to make full recoveries.

The local and UK surgical teams, as well as officials from the TLC and sponsors Republic Bank and Elegant Hotels Group, held a press briefing this morning at the QEH to underscore the value of transplants for patients with kidney failure.

With 300 patients on dialysis at the QEH, Dr O’Shea emphasised, “We want the Barbadian public to realise that transplant is a safe option and the best option.”

It was noted that the large number of persons with kidney failure was placing pressure on dialysis resources and that transplantation would go a long way to ease this burden. Dr O’Shea noted that while not all dialysis patients would be eligible for a transplant, those who are should take up the option.

Mr Nicholas Inston, Transplant Surgeon from the UK, who served as lead surgeon during the invasive procedure, highlighted that after a successful transplant, persons are able to live a normal life, going back to work and active in their families and community.

Donors can be discharged within three days, while recipients are usually discharged around two weeks after the procedure. Regular monitoring continues for up to three months post-op.

“Dialysis is a very expensive process,” he noted, explaining that apart from the cost of the dialysis itself, which must be done two to three times a week, there are increased health risks associated with the treatment such as infections and cardiovascular disease.

“For the government and for the economy, transplantation is by far the cheapest way of treating renal failure,” he emphasised. “Spread the word that transplantation is a good thing and that transplantation is possible in Barbados.”

CEO of the TLC, Dr. Jennie Jewitt-Harris, said, “The best thing about this work is giving a family member the chance to save a life and make a huge difference of their loved one who has kidney failure.”

She had high praise for the local surgical team, remarking, “We’ve worked all over the world and never have we seen such professionalism, commitment, skill and organisation than what we’ve seen here.”

Consultant, Dr. Margaret O’Shea, a General Surgeon, headed the QEH surgical transplant team which consisted of Consultant, Dr. Lisa Belle, Nephrologist; Dr. Nerissa Jurawan, Nephrologist; Consultant, Dr. Michael Fakoory, Anaesthesiologist; Consultant, Dr. Errol Marshall, Anaesthesiologist; Dr. Tamara Marshall, Anaesthesiologist; and Transplant Coordinator, Registered Nurse, Ruth Shorey.

Dr Nicholas Inston, Transplant Surgeon, served as lead surgeon during the invasive procedure done on Tuesday. Dr. Inston was joined by TLC colleagues, Paulette Williams-Jones, Specialist Transplant Nurse; Isobel Wells, Operating Theatre Nurse Specialist; and Gordon Evans, Operating Theatre Specialist.

Mr Nick Inston giving a talk on kidney transplantation at the QEH.

TLC which is a UK-registered charity is led by Dr. Jennie Jewitt-Harris, Chief Executive Officer, and managed by Aimee Jewitt-Harris.

The charity is comprised of British medical professionals who share their practical skills and experience in renal medicine and transplantation in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean to provide medical and surgical support and assistance to build the capacity of medical practitioners in these regions. 

The aim of the TLC project in Barbados is the development of a sustainable national living-donor kidney transplant programme to serve children and adults with kidney failure.

The partnership between the QEH and TLC commenced with the successful performing of two living-donor kidney transplants at the QEH in November 2016.

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