Portsmouth GP donates a kidney to save boy’s life

Tom Higgs
Tom Higgs
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HIS life is dedicated to making people feel better, but this time GP Roger Sutton took it one step further and saved a life.

The 53-year-old donated his kidney to a complete stranger.

Dr Roger Sutton

Dr Roger Sutton

The recipient was 12-year-old Tom Higgs, from Ruislip, in London, and now the two have met up.

Dr Sutton, had the operation at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, during a sabbatical from his GP work.

His was an altruistic donation, meaning he gave it to be used when required.

The father-of-three said: ‘I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when the idea to donate a kidney first came to me.

‘I suppose what started out as a thought grew into a quiet conviction that it was the right thing to do – a chance to say thank you for all the great things that have happened in my life.

‘Looking back, I can see there’s been a bit of a “renal thread” running through my life.

‘My grandmother lived for 35 years after having one of her kidneys removed.

‘I watched a kidney transplant operation when I was a medical student.

‘Twenty years ago a friend of mine had a transplant after developing renal failure. My wife Debbie, who is a dietician, was for many years part of a renal dietetics team.

‘As a GP, I have seen just how important organ donation is and how many lives have been saved through transplants.’

Dr Sutton, who practices at Staunton Surgery, in Civic Centre Road, Havant, had the operation in 2011, but only met Tom this year, after the pair exchanged letters through their transplant co-ordinators.

Tom had suffered from a rare type of kidney disease, atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome since the age of five, and needed dialysis.

His mum Vicky Carter said the operation has changed Tom’s life.

She said: ‘Our lives have changed so much – it’s hard to believe.

‘Before the transplant, we had to wait for Tom to come off the machine so we could get together and open our presents around the Christmas tree.

‘Tom’s definitely looking forward to the celebrations this year.

‘When we heard about the match, we were told that the organ was from a living donor who had decided to donate a kidney to a stranger.

‘We were really surprised that someone would be so selfless.’