Sunday 26 March 2017

Emotional father's 'easy decision' to donate kidney to save son's life

Paul Healy

An emotional father has spoken about the 'easy decision' he made to donate his kidney to save his sons life.

Joshua O'Halloran (15) from Portumna Co Galway suffered from bilateral hydronephrosis all his life - until doctors ordered an urgent transplant.

The condition occurs when urine is unable to drain from the kidney into the bladder, meaning the sufferer may need a transplant in order to live a normal life.

In the search for a donor, Joshua’s father Francis came forward as a good candidate and said it was 'a great honour' to give his kidney to his son.

The operation went ahead last week.

“It was an easy decision”, he told Independent.ie.

“There was no difficulty in it, it was just a great honour to be able to do it and to see him looking so well afterwards and it’s just what I like about it really.

“Once I found out that he needed it and that I was compatible, I wanted to try it and hopefully it works and if it works its great, he won’t need another one for a long time.

He spoke about the difficult 15 years where the family were helpless, looking for options, before their son was taken into Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.

Joshua need to be on a low protein and low salt diet, and in helping him keep with that commitment, the family did also.

“That was the most difficult time  because we did discover that he had kidney problems and we really didn’t know what road we were left with,  and how it was going to pan out, what we were going to do”, he said.

Mr O’Halloran said he 'didn’t feel scared' going into the operation and that he was happy 'it was for something good'.

Joshua was one of 106 children who have received a new kidney at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, since the first transplant back in 2003.

Courtney Kealy (now 17) from Slane, Co Meath was the first ever patient to receive a transplant in the hospital.

When she was born with a dysplastic kidney, she was transferred to the hospital where she says she 'grew up', waiting six years for a donor to come along.

 “I have a normal life now I just have to take medication at morning and night but more machines, no more tubes”, she said.

“A lot of children have been done now.

“I think it’s really important that  people donate because you’re saving someone else’s life , so they will be grateful and so will their family and their friends, because it is hard waiting and not knowing how long it is going to be”, she said.

Temple Street Hospital revealed that out of its transplants, 70pc of them came from organ donor cards.

Dr Michael Riordan, consultant paediatric nephrologist at Temple Street Hospital said that passing the hundredth mark, is a 'real achievement for the transplant programme'.

“Obviously the most important thing is the availability of kidneys”, he said.

2014 was the 'busiest year' for the hospital with 19 kidney transplants.

“One of the key things that is  happening is that there is an increase in the number of children who are living to receive a kidney transplant.

“Dealing with children earlier in lifer has advanced significantly," he said.

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