World Kidney Day marked by Southmead Hospital transplant team

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Today is World Kidney Day and to mark the occasion transplant staff have been raising awareness about organ donation at Southmead Hospital.

There are currently about 400 people waiting for a kidney transplant with our specialist service.

Approximately 120 people have kidney transplants through our Richard Bright Renal Service at Southmead Hospital every year, with about one third of these involving living donors such as a relative or altruistic donor.

The renal transplant team were raising awareness on World Kidney Day

Hundreds of people also have dialysis with us at Southmead Hospital and at satellite units in Cossham, Weston-super-Mare, Bath and Knowle West Health Park.

Chronic kidney disease can be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes or inherited conditions.

Stephen Nicholls, membership secretary of the Bristol Area Kidney Patients Association (BAKPA), developed chronic renal failure in 2000 and received one of his wife Sharon’s kidneys 12 years ago.

His mother had also suffered kidney failure and there was a history in her family.

“I had just moved to Thornbury from Norfolk and hadn’t even been here a week when I suffered a terrific headache,” he said.

“My blood pressure was dangerously high so the doctor gave me some blood pressure tablets and sent me to Southmead.

“Five years later I had my transplant. My wife didn’t even think about it. She said ‘you need a kidney, I’ve got a kidney, you might as well have one of mine’.”

Stephen Nicholls and Jean Kinsey of Bristol Area Kidney Patients Association on World Kidney Day

Vice chairman of the BAKPA, Jean Kinsey, had her kidney transplant 24 years ago from a deceased donor.

She said being diagnosed with kidney failure was a shock, but it did not stop her leading a full life.

“I carried on working full time and had my dialysis at home after work three nights a week,” she said.

“I waited six years for a donor and got the call to say there was a kidney on Boxing Day night.”

Jean has been on the BAKPA committee for more than 30 years.

“We all say it’s a way for us to say thank-you for giving us the gift of life, it’s why we do our bit to support the renal unit,” she said.”

BAKPA supports patients and families along with the Richard Bright Renal Service. They provide a house near Southmead Hospital for patients from outside of the area attending for treatment as well as a holiday flat in Bournemouth for kidney patients who are members.