Dr Asim Syed offered his mother Dilshad his own kidney when she was given just months to live
Last updated at 11:19 AM on 21st December 2011
A transplant surgeon at a leading hospital has saved his mother’s life by donating one of his own kidneys.
It is thought to be the first time in the world that a transplant doctor has donated an organ.
Dr Asim Syed, 32, has performed more than 100 operations at London’s Hammersmith Hospital in the country’s busiest transplant unit, but never imagined that he would one day become a donor himself.
He stepped forward when told his 64-year-old mother Dilshad, who had been on dialysis for five years, might be dead within months unless she got a new kidney.
Family affair: Transplant surgeon Dr Asim Syed (right) saved his mother Dilshad’s life by donating one of his own kidneys for a procedure at Hammersmith Hospital in London where he works
The worried surgeon brought her to London from her home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, to be cared for at his hospital.
Just hours after donating his own kidney, Dr Syed found himself recovering in bed next to his mother and two other patients he had recently operated on.
Mrs Syed said: ‘When I came round
from my operation Asim was in the next bed and the first thing he said
was: “Mum now all your worries are over.”‘
Other members of the family were either not a correct match for Mrs Syed mother or were not fit enough to donate.
it was not all plain sailing. Tests showed Dr Syed was the wrong blood
group, so the only way for him to directly donated was for his mother to
go through a special blood-washing process to remove antibodies that
would reject his kidney.
consulted colleagues about blood-washing, but they were reluctant to
use the method because the risk of rejection is still too high.
Dr Syed and his mother were then advised to consider a new way of donating and receiving an organ – paired or pooled donation.
This is where would-be donors who are not a correct match can find a correct match through an anonymous donor chain.
Dr Syed donated his kidney to an unknown person and another donor in the chain was a successful match for his mother.
The chain of three transplants –
involving three donors and three recipients from three transplant
centres – took place simultaneously on July 31 with Dr Syed’s kidney
going to a recipient in the Midlands and Mrs Syed receiving her kidney
from a person in the south of England.
Now mother and son are recovering well
with Dr Syed already back at work. Mrs Syed is staying with him for
several months while the hospital monitors her progress.
Dr Syed with his mother and father Azmat, who is also a doctor. Just hours1after donating his own kidney, Dr Syed found himself recovering in bed next to his mother and two other patients he had recently operated on
He said: ‘I did what anyone would do when they see a relative suffering but it wasn’t as straightforward as we had hoped.
‘A pooled donation was the only way of guaranteeing mum would get a transplant quickly.
‘Although I wasn’t able to help mum directly, by agreeing to be part of a chain you all help each other. By volunteering in such a way we took three people off dialysis.’
Mrs Syed said: ‘Because Asim was a transplant surgeon he recognised how ill I was becoming.
‘He whisked me down to London to be seen by his colleagues. They stabilised me so that I was fit enough for a transplant. Until I met the team at the Hammersmith no-one had mentioned a pooled donation.
‘I’m not sure I’d have got a transplant if it hadn’t been for Asim being in transplants. He knew exactly what was needed.’
Dr Syed’s father Azmat, 69, who has been a GP in Doncaster for 36 years, said: ‘We were reluctant for Asim to donate because he is young, but his sister and older members of the family weren’t suitable for donation.
‘My wife really needed a transplant and Asim was aware that being on dialysis is not a bed of roses. It’s far from ideal and a lot of patients find leading a normal life quite difficult.’
Dr Syed Jr said: ‘People think that once you are on dialysis your life is not at risk. When I looked at the statistics I was quite shocked.
‘Only 30 per cent of dialysis patients survive to five years and at ten years only ten per cent are alive.
‘Being on dialysis is not good for the body because not all the toxins are removed and because people are not dialysed often enough.
‘Patients only go on dialysis three times a week in hospital because there are not enough machines. Ideally patients should dialyse every day or five or six times a week.’
Dr Syed’s boss, Professor Nadey Hakim, performed both transplants.
He said: ‘What a magnificent gesture. Asim knows how vital it is to get more live donors. When his mum needed help he knew what he had to do.’
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