Health

Thursday 21 August 2014

Megan (14) receives first pioneering transplant - after dad donates kidney

Mark O'Regan

Published 09/07/2014 | 02:30

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Megan Carter pictured at her home in Coolock with parents Carol Williams and Eddie Carter. Picture: Mark Condren
Megan Carter pictured at her home in Coolock with parents Carol Williams and Eddie Carter. Picture: Mark Condren

MEGAN Carter (14) received the ultimate gift from her father after doctors made a breakthrough that allowed her frail body to accept a kidney transplant.

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The family of the Dublin schoolgirl said that Megan "came to life in front of our eyes" after she received the first transplant of its kind ever carried out in Britain or Ireland.

Her father Eddie donated the kidney after years of medical trauma, when his daughter feared she would never be able to successfully receive an organ after her first transplant attempt failed.

But new treatments developed in the UK allowed doctors to remove antibodies which were previously blocking attempts to introduce a transplanted kidney.

"When she came back from theatre she opened her eyes and there was colour in her cheeks. The next day she was asking for food – so the effect was instant," said her mother Carol Williams.

"Megan's hair was glossy, her eyes were bright with colour in her cheeks, and she was the child that we should have had before."

The youngster from Coolock originally received a kidney transplant in Dublin's Temple Street Hospital in 2011. But complications set in, and the kidney had to be removed 24 hours later. She then had to receive life-saving dialysis treatment on a daily basis.

Hope

Despite being on the transplant list, she had little hope of getting a new kidney due to a number of serious health complications.

Medical experts hope this new technique will allow children deemed 'untransplantable' to now receive organs successfully.

Megan's second transplant operation was performed in London's Great Ormond Street hospital three months ago and now she is enjoying a fresh lease of life. The groundbreaking procedure involved removing HLA antibodies from Megan's body using a sophisticated 'filtering process'.

Using cutting-edge techniques, blood is taken out of the body and then reintroduced back into the patient.

"It's been a huge success. She's a brand new child in every way. There's no more dialysis and she has so much more energy," her mother told the Irish Independent.

"She has a zest for life. It was high-risk but we really had no other option. She was deemed to be untransplantable with the amount of antibodies she was carrying."

Overall, about 30pc of patients are thought to have antibodies, which can cause serious complications after a transplant, including the rejection of the kidney, plus infections, bleeding, and on occasion even death.

Mr Nizam Mamode, Consultant Transplant Surgeon at Great Ormond Street, who led the operating team, said: "I am very pleased that we were able to offer a child this transplant, which hopefully will give them a much improved, and longer, life."

Mark Murphy, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association, said in the last three years, a total of 31 children from Ireland have benefited from specialist organ transplantation carried out in UK hospitals.

Irish Independent

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