A woman has spoken about receiving a life-saving kidney transplant during the pandemic.
The news comes as a a report out today from NHS Blood and Transplant shows despite the strains Covid-19 put on the NHS over the last year, 271 people in Yorkshire had their lives saved by an organ transplant.
Thirty-six year old Maryam Naeem on Bradford had her second kidney transplant in July 2020, after receiving her first kidney transplant as a 14 year old in 1998.
Maryam was originally put back on dialysis in October 2019 and told she was being listed for transplant in Feb 2020. However, she was warned they might not be able to find a match, and if they did, it could have been a four to five year wait.
Maryam said: “When I think about where I was before my transplant and where I am now it is a blessing. It’s a lifesaving decision donor families make. For them, that decision takes a lot out of them. The person they have lost has left a legacy and saved someone’s life. They’ve made a real difference.”
“About five years ago I was pregnant, and my kidneys were working at around 90 per cent. My blood pressure started rising throughout my pregnancy and then my daughter stopped growing. They had to do an emergency c-section when I was 28 weeks. My daughter was put into an incubator and was doing fine for the first four days. She caught an infection and unfortunately, she couldn’t fight it because she was so small and she passed away.
“It was a shock to my system and every month from then on my kidney was deteriorating. In October 2019 I started dialysis and I was put on the transplant list in February 2020. I was advised it was going to take a few years to get a transplant because with Asians it can be harder.”
“In July I got a call from the hospital saying they had a potential transplant for me. To be honest I was shocked, scared, relieved and excited. I didn’t want to get my hopes really high but I thought let’s go for it and see what happens.”
“My partner and my family have been great, helping out cooking and cleaning because I couldn’t do anything. I was always tired. It seemed like all my body’s functions depended on the kidneys. I used to think it can’t get any worse than this.”
“Two days after the operation I got up, started moving around and I was fine. After a week I was sent home and told to isolate because of the pandemic. I’m walking around the house now doing my own chores, cooking and cleaning. I’ve been out walking and I’m back to work.”
The Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation Annual Activity Report 2020/21 shows that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, levels were sustained at 75 per cent of normal deceased donation activity and around 80 per cent of normal transplant activity across the UK.
John Forsythe, Medical Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS, and our wider society. So, the fact that 271 people in Yorkshire received an organ transplant is amazing.”
“We would like to reassure our patients the recovery of organ donation and transplantation, both living and deceased, is well underway and deceased donation rates are back to pre-Covid levels.”