GPHC Kidney Transplant Dept. marks milestone with first Int’l transplant
- Donor says she now has ‘new lease on life’
“We were told that we can never achieve transplantation in Guyana.”
Those were the words of the Head of the Georgetown Public Hospital’s Nephrology and Kidney Transplant Department, Dr. Kishore Persaud, as his team marked a huge milestone of successfully performing the first kidney transplant on a patient from outside of Guyana.
He was at the time providing a briefing on the successful completion of the surgery on Monday.
According to Dr. Persaud, the milestone indicated that Guyana has not only achieved transplantation locally, but that the country can provide optimal medical care, comparable to that of a first-world country.
On the receiving end was Dr. Germaine Bristol, who travelled from her home country of Grenada to receive what she deemed “a new lease on life.” Her 19-year-old son Gerome Bristol donated his kidney.
She first fell ill back in 2012 while studying in the United Kingdom, but persevered to pursue her career in medicine while taking dialysis.
She remained on the treatment for more than nine years without hope since Grenada does not have transplant services; this was until Dr. Persaud visited her country and provided her with the opportunity to have a better life.
“Thank you to the former and current Ministers of Health, the administration of the Hospital, the Doctors here, the transplant team, and the people of Guyana for allowing me this opportunity to come have my transplant and to my son for so generously donating a kidney, for all of you who gave me a whole new lease on life,” Dr. Bristol remarked.
The surgery, completed on June 14, 2021, though successful was not one without challenges.
Dr. Persaud explained that the team had to battle with its first complication ever – Delayed Graph Function, which is the failure of the renal transplant to function immediately, with the need for dialysis in the first post-transplantation week.
This is said to affect approximately 20% of donor transplants worldwide.
“It took almost three weeks before the kidneys started working and most of the time, we will see your kidney work right away on the operating table so the team, we put our brains together and we managed to pull her successfully through this and her kidneys are almost back to normal function and she will be able to go about every day as a normal citizen,” Dr. Persaud explained.
While the team celebrated Dr. Bristol’s surgery, it also marked another successful transplant done on a local medical professional, 26-year-old Dr. Nyamekeye Griffith.
Her surgery was done on June 20, 2021, and she, like Dr. Bristol, is expected to make a full recovery.
Dr. Griffith was in full praise of the team and professional service she received during her stay at the hospital and encouraged all and sundry to take full advantage of the services being offered.
“I’m here to stand as a testimony, to show what an excellent job your transplant team has done with limited resources. I was extremely impressed by the quality of service that I received,” she highlighted.
Guyana as the center of excellence for health in Caribbean
Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony remarked that the government is working on vastly improving the delivery of medical service at GPHC.
Guyana as a whole, he remarked, has the potential to one day become the “center of excellence for health” across the Caribbean.
“We envisage, in the next few years, that we will be able to offer those health services to other citizens of the Caribbean region.
“We want to become a center of excellence here for health, for the Caribbean to offer a range of [medical] services,” the Health Minister stated.
Over the next couple of years, the government is set to roll out massive infrastructural development and training programmes with the aim to further lift the standard and quality of healthcare.
Further, the Minister remarked that much credit must be given to the team of medical professionals at the hospital who worked diligently to ensure that Guyana’s population remains healthy.
“We are very proud that we have a team of doctors who are teaching and making a name for themselves by the types of surgery and other services that they have been providing.
“They have stood on the shoulders of their predecessors, but they are reaching for new heights,” he said.
Also commenting on the successful surgeries was Ministerial Advisor and former Health Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, who stated that the team’s achievement must be seen as a proud accomplishment.
The Transplant Department was established under Dr. Ramsammy’s tenure as Minister of Health.