Father donates kidney to son in first for St George’s after transplant operations resume
Alistair Dow was the first patient to undergo a kidney transplant at St George’s when the hospital’s transplant programme resumed last month.
The service was temporarily paused in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but safely restarted in June with the first kidney transplant performed on Wednesday 24.
Alistair, 28, was diagnosed with kidney disease in March 2019 and advised by doctors that a transplant would give him the best quality of life. His father, Alan Dow, was tested and told he was a suitable match.
The 57-year-old received approval to be a donor in February this year and was due to donate one of his kidneys to his son on April 22. As a result of Covid-19, their surgery was postponed until it was safe for transplant operations to resume.
During the peak of the pandemic, transplant patients were considered to be at higher risk from coronavirus because of the immunosuppressive drugs they take to help the body accept a new organ.
Alistair and Alan were both screened and tested for coronavirus ahead of their surgery, having isolated for two weeks beforehand. On Tuesday 23 June, they arrived at St George’s before their operations the next day.
One month on, the father and son are both recovering well at their home in Fleet, Hampshire.
“We worked out we were going to be one of the first ones.” they said. “We were a bit nervous, but delighted as we both wanted to get the operation done.”
Alistair no longer has to undergo nightly peritoneal dialysis treatment and says the energy he feels from his transplant has given him his life back.
Alistair said: “I’m incredibly grateful for what my father has done for me. Over the last year I have felt my condition take over more and more of my life. Now I’ve got my new kidney, I feel a million dollars.”
Alan said: “Throughout the whole process leading up to and at the time of our surgeries the quality of care has been outstanding. We had numerous calls beforehand to discuss any concerns we had, and the staff went to great lengths to ensure we felt safe and supported.
“Everyone at St George’s was fantastic, from the surgeons and nurses to the support staff and people behind the scenes that you don’t always see. It was seamless and we were both very impressed.”
Mr Abbas Ghazanfar, Consultant Transplant Surgeon and Clinical Lead for Transplant Surgery at St George’s, said: “I am delighted that our renal transplant programme is back up and running at St George’s.
“There have been a number of challenges to overcome, but staff across various specialties have worked incredibly hard and it’s thanks to their teamwork that we’ve been able to restart safely.
“I am also thankful to our patients who have been not only been waiting patiently for our programme to restart, but have also supported us to do so.”
At St George’s, an average of three kidney transplants are performed each week. In 2018-19, 158 transplants were carried out – the highest number in a year since the inception of the transplant unit in 1994.
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