Britain’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient celebrates her 42nd year

Record breaker: Anne Whiteman at her home in Shirehampton, Bristol celebrating the 42nd anniversary of her kidney transplant

‚Surgeons said it would only last a decade‘: Britain’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient celebrates her 42nd year

Anne Whiteman on her wedding day with Arthur in 1963: Surgeons told her at the time that the kidney would only last for 10 years before it would fail and need to be replaced again

A pioneering pensioner has made medical history by becoming Britain’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient after surgery 42 years ago.

Grandmother-of-two Anne Whiteman, 67, was one of the first people in the UK to have the transplant in 1968 when she was 25.

Surgeons told her at the time that the kidney would only last for 10 years before it would fail and need to be replaced once again.

But 42 years later she is still going strong with the same kidney and has never had any trouble since the organ was accepted.

Mrs Whiteman was today celebrating the anniversary of the day of the transplant – her ’second birthday‘.

She said: ‚I never imagined that my kidney would last all these years, but I’ve got a daughter and two wonderful grandchildren, who I’ve seen grow up.

‚I jumped at the chance to take the kidney when doctors offered. After ten years of regular check-ups, the kidney was fine, and it has kept on going ever since.

‚I hated being hooked up to a machine – it wasn’t like kidney dialysis machines you see now, this was the size of a washing machine and made a great noise.

‚When I came off the machine I’d feel OK for a couple of hours but then I’d feel awful again until I went back on the machine.

‚I just felt ill all the time and couldn’t face the thought of going through this for the rest of my life.

‚After the transplant, I had so much energy and felt absolutely wonderful. All the tiredness had gone and I was able to enjoy life with Arthur and our daughter.

‚I mark the occasion every year on Halloween – it’s a new second birthday when I was given a second lease of life.‘  The retired auxiliary nurse who lives with her husband Arthur, 73, in Bristol, was the first person in the South West of England to undergo the new procedure.

Mrs Whiteman first began to experience kidney problems in her late teens when she felt tired and lacking in energy.

She married Arthur in 1963 and was finally diagnosed with renal failure three years after the birth of her daughter Tracey in 1965.

Doctors removed both her kidneys which had shrunk to the size of walnuts and she was placed on dialysis three times a week.

She was forced to stick to a strict diet and her weight dropped to a shocking six-and-a-half stone.

While she was on dialysis, renal surgeon Humphrey White had been drafted into Bristol from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge to start a transplant programme in the South West.

Mrs Whiteman became first patient on his list after two other patients turned down the offer of the pioneering surgery.

She said: ‚About nine months after I’d started dialysis an 18-year-old boy died in motorbike accident and his kidney happened to be a perfect match.

‚Mr White asked me if I wanted to be the first person to undergo a kidney transplant and to Arthur’s shock I said yes.‘  The four-hour operation took place at Southmead Hospital in Bristol on 31 October 1968 and was a complete success.

She said: ‚He wasn’t meant to, but one doctor we saw told us the kidney would only last 10 years.

‚I burst into tears at the thought of not being able to see my daughter Tracey grow up but I just felt lucky to feel so healthy.

‚But after the transplant, I went back to work for the next 20 years and had a brilliant quality of life.

Mr Whiteman added: ‚I was faced with the possibility of having to bring up our three-year-old daughter Tracey on my own so I was overjoyed when the surgery worked.‘  Now, more than 40 years since the operation, Mrs Whiteman says she is eternally grateful that she took a chance and had the transplant.

She said: ‚At the time of my operation and every time I’ve been back for check-ups the doctors and nurses have always been so kind and helpful.

‚At the time, when I explained to people about the transplant, they couldn’t take it in, but now transplants are common.

‚I would encourage anyone who is worried about having a transplant to have one – it has improved the quality of my life so much.‘  The first successful kidney transplant was performed in 1954 at Harvard University. The patient survived for seven years with a kidney from his identical twin brother.

The world’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient is an American, Bill Thompson, 59, who received his organ in 1966 at the age of 15.

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Quelle: Britain’s longest surviving kidney transplant patient celebrates her 42nd year | Mail Online


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