Development in transplants is a cause for celebration

The Rev Canon Bob White with representatives of the groups involved in our Christmas campaignh run with churches in Portsmouth - Comfort and Joy

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Sometimes developments in healthcare can be too complicated for the layman to fully understand, or at least fully appreciate.

There are many occasions when a breakthrough or a discovery is hailed and one may be impressed by the technology that enabled it to happen and by the skill of the scientists or doctors involved, but feel that it may not have much to do with real life, or that it is hard to relate to.

Today’s front page, however, is nothing of the kind. It’s the story of how, thanks to a new method of carrying out kidney transplants, or rather preparing recipients for transplants, many more operations can take place.

It’s a pioneering and indeed lifesaving procedure. To put it most simply, previously donors and recipients had to share a blood group, but now, through treating plasma, kidneys can be transplanted from people with different blood groups.

That’s easy enough to understand, but what hammers home this story far more is the smiling face of Tracy West.

Tracy, of Port Solent, has literally been given a new lease of life since her operation. Before, she suffered migraines, had high blood pressure and needed to start dialysis. Now, with a kidney donated from her father Michael, she says she feels incredible. And, what makes this story all the more heartwarming is that Michael had read about the new procedure and contacted Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to see whether it could be applied to him and his daughter.

And that’s another reason for optimism about this, for in QA we have on our doorstep one of the few places in the country that can perform this procedure – a development which means that every one of the 240 people in Portsmouth waiting for a kidney has a slightly better chance of having a transplant than they might otherwise have had.

So today’s story is a cause for pride in QA, and a reminder to carry an organ donor card.

And Tracy’s smiling face, as seen on page 5, is a reason to thank the advances in medical technology that are helping to improve our lives.