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Hoping for kidney transplant center in Baguio

Kidney transplantation was done in Baguio City on Nov. 19, 2001 at the Saint Louis University Hospital of the Sacred Heart.

The recipient was Ms. Elaine Tee, then 45 years old. Both her kidneys were damaged by large stones that blocked the normal smooth passage of urine in her kidneys and also caused repeated urinary tract infections.

The donor was Elaine’s son Samson, then 20 years old. Mother and son went to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute for the laboratory tests needed to establish that there was good blood and tissue compatibility between them. The so-called crossmatching and tissue typing yielded good results.

We invited Dr. Benito Purugganan, a vascular and transplant surgeon of NKTI to do the transplant surgery since there was no transplant surgeon in Baguio City at that time. The anesthesiologist was Dr. Amelia C. Singson. The late Dr. Andres S. Marrero, fresh from his training in urology at NKTI was the surgeon who performed the donor nephrectomy (removal of the kidney to be donated). The anesthesiologist was Dr. Cristina F. Marrero. There were no complications encountered during both operations.

Ms. Tee stayed in the recovery room of the hospital for 24 hours for close monitoring. Her urine output and her kidney blood tests became normal. She was then transferred to Room 105, a regular private room at the SLU hospital annex building. Samson, the donor stayed in the adjoining room, Room 106.

Samson’s recovery was uneventful and he was sent home after three days. Ms. Tee likewise had an uneventful post-transplantation recovery and was discharged after seven days. The durations of their hospital stay were within the prescribed duration of stay for uncomplicated cases of donor nephrectomy and kidney transplantation.

Ms. Tee is now 62 years old. She says she does not regret having undergone the procedure. She had dialysis treatments for 10 months and the kidney transplant freed her from the said treatments. She feels happy and fulfilled as a housewife and a grandmother of two. Her husband Jose continues to work in Taiwan as a broker and interpreter.

Ms. Tee’s creatinine level, a blood test that helps measure the function of her transplanted kidney, is now slightly higher than normal but is stable. Her appetite is good. She sleeps well and does not get tired easily. She maintains a healthy diet and drinks the prescribed amount of water which is two to three liters per day.

Samson, the eldest of Elaine’s three children, finished a bachelor’s degree in Education after donating his kidney to his mother. He is healthy and is now 36 years old. He lives with his wife and child in Manila and works as team leader at Startek Company. He goes for regular medical checkup, the results of which are within normal. He exercises by playing basketball regularly and maintains a healthy diet.

No subsequent kidney transplant surgeries were done in the city but the goal – to show the community that it can be done in our locality has been achieved. We already have our own transplant surgeons and kidney doctors so that the creation and establishment of a kidney transplant center is a dream that hopefully will soon come true. Kidney transplantation is still the recommended treatment for end stage kidney failure.

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Medical concerns or questions may be emailed to baguiomidlandcourier@yahoo.com or yourmedicalcorner@yahoo.com. Answers will be emailed directly or will be provided in the column.

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