Boy could face dialysis or even a transplant
The eight-year-old boy at the centre of the tragic surgical blunder in Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin had a poorly functioning right kidney in the spring of 2008. His left kidney was healthy but this was incorrectly removed. He is now left with the diseased kidney and faces an uncertain future.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located at the back of the abdomen behind the liver and the intestines.
Every day, kidneys filter blood, removing waste products that are collected as part of normal bodily functions, along with any excess fluid.
If the kidneys fail, an excess of waste products can build up in the blood leading to a range of symptoms including: vomiting, itchy skin, fatigue, and swelling of the feet, hands, and ankles. Without treatment, such as dialysis, kidney failure will inevitably prove fatal.
He is at risk of having to undergo dialysis later in life, a procedure which replaces some of the kidney's normal functions.
Haemodialysis involves inserting a needle into a blood vessel, which is attached by a tube to a dialysis machine. Blood is transferred from the body and into the machine, which filters out waste products and excess fluids.
The filtered blood is then passed back into the body. Peritoneal is a less well known method of dialysis, although it is a method that is being used more commonly.
If the dialysis fails, the child could be facing the prospect of a kidney transplant and will join a considerable queue for people here needing the procedure. His mother Jennifer Stewart has already told the Medical Council inquiry that she is living day by day.