Organ donation

Hardev - Interview 39

Male
Age at interview: 71

Brief outline: Hardev was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and faced the prospect of life on dialysis. He had a kidney transplant in 2008, aged 68. The donor was his younger daughter. He is now very well and active in charity work.

Background: Hardev is married and has two adult daughters. He is a retired teacher (head of mathematics) and now does a lot of voluntary work in prisons and Sikh temples. Ethnic background / nationality' British Indian.

Audio & video

Hardev started having problems around 1985 when he noticed that he needed to urinate frequently. He was prescribed three courses of antibiotics by his GP and was well again for several years. A few years later, however, when he had the same problem again, he was referred to hospital.

 Tests showed that Hardev had problems with his kidneys and his kidney function would need to be monitored regularly. He remained fit and active and said he did not have any symptoms. Kidney function tests, however, showed that - his kidneys were gradually becoming less and less effective. If they continued to deteriorate, Hardev would need to have dialysis. Around 1999, he was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys. Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic condition characterised by multiple cysts in both kidneys. 

Hardev and his younger daughter visited a dialysis unit so he could see what having dialysis would involve. After seeing how dependent patients on dialysis were and how often it would be given, Hardev’s daughter felt strongly that she would not want her dad to have dialysis. She offered to donate one of her kidneys to him and they started having tests to assess whether they would be a compatible match. These showed that they were.

The first date for surgery had to be cancelled because Hardev developed a chest infection. The next date was in December 2008. The surgery went smoothly and both he and his daughter recovered well. Hardev was discharged from hospital about eight days after the transplant and, at first, had check-ups very frequently. He now has them every two months and takes anti-rejection medication daily.

After about seven weeks, Hardev was back to normal. He is a Sikh chaplain and resumed his visits to local prisons, where he ‘supports Sikh prisoners to improve their way of life’. Since his transplant, he has also visited India twice and was well on both occasions. He leads an active life and said his religious faith gave him the strength not to worry about the transplant and recovery.

Hardev praised the care and support he’d received from doctors and nurses. He urged other British South Asian people to consider being kidney donors as it would help many other people on dialysis or waiting for a transplant.   

 

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