Organ donation

Paul - Interview 34

Age at interview: 56

Brief outline: Paul donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient in 2008, when he was 53. He is now involved in an organisation that aims to raise awareness of living kidney donation.

Background: Paul is a married GP with four adult children. Ethnic background / nationality' White British.

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Paul donated a kidney altruistically to an anonymous recipient in 2008, when he was 53. Being a GP, he’d been aware of the important function of kidneys and kidney failure. He was also aware of the huge difference living donation or a kidney transplant could make to a patient. When one of his patients told him that having a new kidney had been better than winning the lottery, it brought it home to him the difference it could make, and he felt that he himself could perhaps donate.

Paul did some research on the internet and discovered that it was legal in the UK to donate a kidney altruistically to an anonymous recipient. He contacted a specialist nurse [transplant co-ordinator] and started the tests and evaluations to assess whether he would be a suitable donor. These took about six months in total. Paul also discussed non-directed (anonymous) living kidney donation with his family.

The first time Paul went into hospital for surgery, he was told that the recipient was now too ill for a transplant. Paul had to go back home and was disappointed because he’d been prepared for it and had made the necessary arrangements at work. About eight weeks later, he was back at the hospital and, this time, the surgery went ahead.      

The operation went well and, about three days later, Paul was discharged from hospital. He felt some discomfort at first but, over the course of two weeks, recovered well and went back to work. This was the first operation he’d ever had and he found it helpful as a health professional to have the experience of being a patient. Paul now has annual appointments to have his blood pressure and kidney function monitored.   

To raise awareness of living kidney donation, Paul talked about his experience on TV, radio and in the newspapers. He is also involved in a new organisation that aims to raise awareness of living kidney donation'


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