Historic operations in Jamaica


KINGSTON – Through what has been described as the highest form of altruism, three endstage renal failure patients have had their life expectancies increased by several years.

The three – Wayne Bernard, who urinated for the first time in six years last Thursday; Shaneik Lawson, who no longer feels drained as if she runs from Kingston to St. James; and a man whose sister has made the ultimate sacrifice by doing without one of her two kidneys – are the recipients of the first kidney transplant operations at Montego Bay’s Cornwall Regional Hospital.

Bernard’s wife, Debbie-Ann, donated her kidney so he could have a new lease on life. Lawson’s sister handed her an early birthday gift of a kidney.

The historic keyhole laparoscopic operations were done last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at the government-run medical facility, by Jamaican doctors, consultant urological surgeon, Roy “Chippy” McGregor and consultant general surgeon, Dwayne Hall, assisted by visiting surgeons, Nick Inston and Andrew Reddy from Birmingham, England.

The two foreign surgeons are part of a foundation called Transplant Link Community and have brought transplants to several countries.

Lauding the team spirit at the hospital, McGregor described the three days as “inspiring”.

“I have never seen the hospital come together quite like the way it did. No one department could have done it. It really took team work – the nursing staff in theatre, the ones on the wards, the lab technicians, etc,” he told The Gleaner.

Explaining the revolutionary keyhole laparoscopic removal of the kidney, McGregor said, “We used the hand-assisted laparoscopic retrieval of the donor kidney and open implantation of the donor kidney into the recipient.”

McGregor spent two weeks in England recently, sharpening his skills on the technique.

This was his second time doing the operation, and Hall’s first.

Not new to Jamaica, kidney transplant was first done at the Kingston Public Hospital in the 1970s. Approximately 45 cases were done, but the procedures stopped about seven years ago. (Jamaica Gleaner) 

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