Sabah donor’s kidneys to benefit two patients

Dr Adlan (right) and Dr Cheah (middle) during the meeting with the press yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: The parents of an anonymous organ donor will be making a difference in the lives of not one patient who is suffering from end stage renal failure but two.

According to Sabah Deputy Health Director (Medical) Dr Adlan Suhaimi Ahmad, the parents, who did not wish to be identified, had agreed to donate their patient’s kidney as the latter has been declared as brain dead.

The operation on the donor was conducted between 1am and 4.30am yesterday, and the kidneys were immediately dispatched to Kuala Lumpur where a patient of Sabah descent was waiting to undergo the transplant operation, he said.

Another patient, who was on the priority list, would also receive the other kidney from the donor, Dr Adlan told the media at his office at Wisma Persekutuan yesterday.

Regional Transplant Procurement Management Unit Sabah manager Dr Cheah Phee Kheng, who was also present during the meeting, said it is a privilege for one to be able to donate their organ once they are pronounced brain dead or cardiac dead.

He said such a case whereby a donor from Sabah or their family comes forward to pledge organs for the worthy cause is still uncommon in Sabah.

“Since 2009, this is the second case whereby we have managed to garner the support and approval from the donor’s family to donate the donor’s organ. In this case, they only wanted to give his kidneys,” he said.

Due to the act of the parents, the lives of two patients who have been suffering from renal failure will improve tremendously, Dr Cheah said.

“One cannot imagine the plight a renal failure patient goes through. Can you imagine undergoing hemodialysis for three days in a week, attached to the machine for four hours each time? There is no avenue to do anything else. With the transplant, they will be able to greatly improve their quality of life,” he said.

He added for a child who is suffering from renal failure, his or her plight will be the inability to attend school like any ordinary child as their life would depend on the hemodialysis machine.

The transplant patients who are waiting in Kuala Lumpur underwent transplant operation the same day yesterday as the kidneys, once removed, would only be able to last for 24 hours, he said.

Some 15,000 kidney patients in the country are presently on the waiting list to undergo the transplant operations.

Dr Cheah said that although decisions to donate the organ(s) belonging to a loved one who is pronounced as brain dead or cardiac dead are often tough decisions for a family, it allows the family to heal better knowing that a difference has been made on the lives of others in need.

“If they did not do anything, in two to three years time, they would probably regret the decisions they have made. But by then, it would be too late,” he said.

Both Dr Cheah and Dr Adlan then expressed their condolence to the family who generously donated their child’s kidney and said that they hope other families would find it in their hearts to do the same to help patients who are in need of those organ(s).

Dr Cheah explained that when a patient is pronounced brain dead, the organs that could be harvested are their heart, kidney and liver, while a patient that is cardiac dead can still be harvested for their skin, tissue, cornea, bone and heart valves.

“The next of kin can still determine whether they want to donate the organ(s) of their loved ones,” he said.

Meanwhile, 750 people in Sabah have pledged their organs, and Dr Adlan said that they would be organizing an event to encourage more people to follow suit on November 11 this year.

“We hope to increase the number to 1,000 by the end of this year,” he said.

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