Retired nurse pleads for a new kidney


Tribune Features Writer


AFTER giving over 40 years of service to the local healthcare system, a retired Bahamian nurse is now facing her own major medical battle and hopes a kidney donor will come forward to provide her with the miracle she so desperately needs.

Elizabeth Knowles has been living with chronic kidney disease. It’s a condition in which the kidneys experience gradual loss of their function.

She is now between stages 4 and 5 of the kidney disease. However, she hopes having a kidney transplant will not only extend her life but also improve her general life quality.

“Over time, my kidney disease has gotten worse, causing my kidneys not to work well enough to keep me alive. This is what I am facing now, and my treatment options are limited to dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant,” she told Tribune Health.

Elizabeth would have to undergo regular dialysis treatments three to four times a week for some four hours at a time. And while this method would keep her kidney working, a new kidney would offer her more freedoms and a better quality of life.

“A transplant would offer more freedom and the ability to live a longer, healthier, more normal life,” she said.

“It would also give me more time to do the fun things I enjoy most, like spending time with my family and friends.”

Finding a donor, however, is mammoth task, especially with her blood type O.

“Just ask the 100,000 plus people on the waiting list for a deceased donor kidney like me,” she said.

“Time is not on my side. Some wait for years; many die while waiting. The average wait time is five years or more for a kidney from a deceased donor. However, there is another option: receiving a kidney from a living donor.”

Elizabeth had turned to family and friends, but has not had any success so far.

Now Elizabeth is making an appeal to anyone willing to become a living donor.

“Asking family members and friends to consider donating a kidney to me has turned out to be unsuccessful and this is why I am reaching out with hopes to improve my chances of getting a transplant. A living kidney donation typically lasts longer and has better function,” she explained.

“You might not know a lot about living donation - I know I didn’t before kidney disease affected my life. Understandably, some people are afraid about the surgery and what living with one kidney will mean for them.”

According to the US’ National Kidney Foundation, people with two healthy kidneys may be eligible to donate one of their kidneys to save the life of another person.

A living donation can come from someone who does not have an emotional or genetic connection to the recipient.

Medical improvements today mean the genetic link between a donor and recipient is no longer required to ensure a successful transplant.

There are also paired exchange programmes within transplant centres and national paired exchange programs that allow an incompatible pair to match up with another incompatible pair; allowing the two donors to switch recipients.

Most donor surgeries are done laparoscopically, meaning through tiny incisions.

The recuperation period is usually fairly quick, generally two weeks.

Last week, Health Minister Dr Michael Darville said people looking to participate in the government’s new National Organs Transplant Programme will undergo psychological evaluation and counselling.

The Davis administration allocated $1.2m for the programme in the 2023/24 budget.

Kidney transplants are expected to be the first performed under the programme.

Dr Darville said the draft legislation for the programme is complete and now out for consultation.

The initiative is expected to reduce the ministry’s cost for the current public haemodialysis programme, through which more than 600 patients receive treatment.

Anyone interested in become a living kidney donor for Elizabeth can contact by Whatsapp preferably 242-804-1827 or alternatively 1-242-565-1443..


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