"I was the ninth recipient to have a robot-assisted kidney transplant at Guy's Hospital"
- 11 Nov 2019
"In 1994 I was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy with a kidney function of 50%. My function gradually deteriorated over the next 20 years. In 2014 it started getting aggressive and my function deteriorated quickly. When I reached around 15/16% I was advised to seek a live donor. Thankfully my younger brother came forward and offered a kidney. Following a lengthy work up, we were eventually given a transplantation date of 1 September 2019.
"I received a phone call from Guy's Hospital asking if I would like to be considered for a robotic assisted transplant. Having heard of the procedure and how the recovery and scarring was much better than traditional surgery, I jumped at the offer!
"I met with the professor who would be carrying out the procedure and he went through all the risks as well as the benefits and told me I would be only the ninth recipient to have a robot assisted transplant at Guy's. I was still convinced that for me robotic assisted surgery was the best choice.
"The transplant was expected to take approximately 5 hours, however the operation was completed successfully in just 3.5, proving they are getting more efficient at carrying out this procedure.
"I came out of the theatre with a neck-line in place, three cannulas and a catheter. I had no drains or dressings in-situ. I was heavily dosed with painkillers so felt no pain at all, although I did have access to morphine via a control button should I need it but happily I didn't need to use it. My wife and son were there to support me, which really helped. My new kidney was working straight away from theatre and producing good results.
"My wife visited me in hospital every day, which gave me great encouragement and helped me recover. When I was at home my wife and son made sure I didn't do any lifting or overdo anything. The family introduced strict hygiene rules and all visitors to the house were told to wash hands and cover or remove their shoes as my immunosuppressant's dose was very high.
"On my first day home my mouth and throat began to feel very sore. It was so painful! I had developed ulcers in my mouth; later that week guys swabbed them and it was diagnosed as herpes virus. More tablets and a variation in some of my drug regime sorted it quickly."
"Naturally, following the transplant, I went home with a very long list of new medication to take. They are very time-specific too, so ended up with four different alarms on my phone, to remind me. I also had to keep a daily log of BP, temperature, weight, fluids in and out. That week I had to attend clinic at Guy's twice to check everything was going OK and that the blood results were good.
"The second week they discharged me to Kent & Canterbury Hospital, as this was easier for me to get to from my home town of Gillingham. I attended clinic twice a week. At clinic they also checked my BP, temperature and checked bloods. I also saw a nurse or doctor on each visit.
"Seven weeks post transplant, the clinic have now reduced my clinic visits to once a week.
My scars are healing quickly. I was advised by the transplant surgeon to get a dog tag or wristband as the small scarring will almost disappear and the main scar will be hardly noticeable. So in the event of an emergency admission to hospital they will not be able to tell that I’ve had the transplant!"
Jo-Anne Dobson is a living kidney donor, Kidney Care UK Northern Ireland Ambassador and a former Stormont M...
We are concerned to learn that the government provided inaccurate information about the testing of Covid-19...
People whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease share their experiences.
The best treatment for kidney failure in people fit enough for the operation.
IgA nephropathy (or Berger's Disease) is a condition in which a protein can cause damage to the kidneys.