Woman donates kidney to adopted daughter with congenital defect

Sunday, 3 March 2019

“Dr Shital Lengade and Dr Vishal Sawant of the RG Stone Hospital and Old Goa Healthway Hospital helped us in ensuring we find our way to the Jehangir Hospital,” said Harris

PUNE: For 17-year-old Sarah, her adoptive mother has become an angel. Born with spina bifida, a birth defect, where there is incomplete closing of the backbone and membranes around the spinal cord, which caused renal complications. 

She has found a new lease of life following her surgery at the Jehangir Hospital on February 19. Discharged after a successful kidney transplant with her mom as a donor, Sarah, along with her family, hopes to move away from regular visits to the hospital for dialysis.  

Explaining the root of the problem, her father Ashton Harris said that his daughter had a gap in the spinal column.

“Due to lack of folic acid in her birth mom’s womb, this gap developed into a tumour. As a result, she had a problem with passing urine and stools. The orphanage did have the tumour removed and had informed us as well. As a side-effect of the tumour, all sensation and feelings when the bladder is full was not available to her. She would dribble when her bladder was full. Also, her bladder growth was stunted and there would be reflux,” said Harris.

Having been on dialysis for the past two years, the Harris family moved home from Bengaluru to Goa for better medical care for their youngest of seven children.

“Dr Shital Lengade and Dr Vishal Sawant of the RG Stone Hospital and Old Goa Healthway Hospital helped us in ensuring we find our way to the Jehangir Hospital,” said Harris.

While everyone in the family was ready to donate their kidney, mother Joan Harris turned out to be a perfect blood group match. 

“My wife insisted that she give the kidney without a minute’s hesitation. All my boys and I were for this decision,” said Harris.

For the Jehangir Hospital’s transplant co-ordinator Vrinda Pusalkar, the case presented itself with both legality and responsibility. 

“The orphanage, from where Sarah was adopted, sent us a letter informing us of her birth defect. Once legal papers were in, it was our responsibility that this case would be approved without any hitch,” said Pusalkar.

At the hospital, a team of nephrologists including Dr Shriniwas Ambike, urologist Dr Deepak Kirpekar, Dr Yogesh Sovni, vascular surgeon Dr Dhanesh Kamerkar, along with anaesthetist Dr Avantika Bhat, performed the surgery., The donor was operated by the team led by Dr Nitin Gadgil, Dr Ketan Pai and anaesthetist Dr Archana Jana. 

Senior nephrologist Dr Ambike said a transplant was needed as the fistula, where the pricking takes place, gives way after some time.“Also, her mom’s kidney, despite her being 65 years old, was in good condition and given the blood group matched, it was an ideal situation,” said Dr Ambike.Vascular surgeon Dr Kamerkar and Dr Deepak Kirpekar said the surgery was a challenging one but much needed.

“In this case, the transplanted kidney had to be placed on the left side as the right side was unavailable due to scarring. Also, fitting an adult kidney into a younger person’s body is challenging. Due to multiple issues, Sarah’s arteries were also smaller compared to the mother,” said the doctors. Both the donor and the recipient have now been discharged.

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