HEALTH MATTERS: A look back at some of the children’s lives transformed thanks to organ donation

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde completes 14 transplants despite pandemic

While the pandemic has forced many things to stop since March 2020, the demand for kidney transplants has continued unabated and to keep up, so too has NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s paediatric transplant programme.

Since the pandemic started, the team at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow has successfully completed 14 paediatric kidney transplants to children across Scotland.

The life-saving operation has allowed each of the children the opportunity to live full and healthy lives without the need for further kidney dialysis. The programme has been able to continue thanks to strict infection prevention and control measures at the hospital alongside a supply of organs donated through deceased and living volunteer donors.

Dr Ben Reynolds, Paediatric Nephrologist at the Royal Hospital for Children, said: “We’ve been very lucky in that we’ve been able to continue our full transplant programme throughout COVID-19 and it’s amazing to have been able to do so many transplants despite the challenging situation. Moving a child off dialysis makes a huge difference to their lives. It means being able to go back to school properly, go swimming, kick a football about with their pals and get some of their childhood back, without having to visit the hospital every week for long periods of time. Dialysis is an effective means of keeping a patient safe but it’s not a long-term solution and we still have a long waiting list for a kidney transplant.

“For us to continue giving kids that new lease of life, donation is something which has to happen year-round. If you want to be an organ donor after you die, it’s still really important that those closest to you understand and support your choice, and we’d urge everyone to have that conversation where possible.”

 At aged 12 days old Ruby from Kelty, Fife, was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome and had to have both kidneys removed by the age of seven months old. Ruby now two, spent most of her life on dialysis and medics had feared she may not survive. Luckily, Gran Dawn Thomson, 52, was told she was a tissue match and Ruby received her new kidney on July 1st 2020.

Mum, Chloe, said: “Transplant has changed Ruby’s life and ours so much.  She’s like a different child, full of energy and eating us out of house and home! It’s been nice to plan things and actually get to do them, like in the photo which was from a recent trip to the zoo, unlike before when there was a lot of hospital stays and plans got cancelled. It was tough the transplant happening during the pandemic with Ruby’s Granny being the donor and not being able to see her or any of our support network who would usually have been around. It’s definitely still changed things for the better though and the difference in Ruby proves that!”

Christopher Cairney, Age when transplant took place: 7

Larkhall boy Christopher, was born with kidney dysplasia – a condition where one or two kidneys do not develop ­properly in the womb – and spent four years on dialysis. He finally received a new kidney in the Summer of 2020. This year for the first time ever he got to go away on a proper summer holiday, since he is no longer tied to a three day per week dialysis regime.

Mum, Stacey, said: “It’s been incredible to watch. My boy running about the beach, in and out the water and playing like all the other wee boys.”

Leo McFaulds. Age when transplant took place: 8

Elgin boy Leo and his brother were stricken down by E.Coli in 2020. While Leo’s brother Sam made a full recovery, Leo spent a full year on dialysis, Luckily mum Louise was a match and the transplant took place in February of this year. Since then Leo and his mum have made a strong recovery, and Leo has since joined his peers back at school and is living his life to the fullest.

Mum, Louise, said: “Leo is his happy, energetic self again. Growing so fast, back at school and enjoying life just as a nine year old should. It’s incredible.”

Zak Khan. Age when transplant took place: 16

Zak from Glasgow had suffered kidney failure and was on dialysis. He waited for two-and-a-half years for a transplant and was the first patient in Scotland to receive a kidney transplant during the pandemic.

Zak said when the call came, he said he was “so relieved it had actually happened” because life has been “really hard”.

Mum Farzana said The “sparkle” has returned to his eyes since his transplant. “I still can’t believe it when I look at him and when I look at how healthy he actually looks now – his colour and complexion… He was very pale before. He’s got colour in his cheeks now.”

Anna Hyland. Age when transplant took place: 4

Anna was born premature with dysplastic poorly formed kidneys. She received a living related pre-emptive transplant.

Amy Palmer. Age when transplant took place: 16

Amy was born premature with dysplastic kidneys. She received a pre-emptive transplant from  the deceased donor list.

Leave a Reply