He waits 13 years for second kidney

He waits 13 years for second kidney
Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
By Koh Hui Theng
Despite family objections, Mr Seow Yan Leong (right) went ahead and donated his kidney to his son Peter Seow in 1981.

His story is remarkable because he has had not one but two kidney transplants.

Mr Peter Seow, 57, a book keeper, had his first transplant in 1981 after both his kidneys failed. The donated kidney came from his dad.

When that started to fail in the latter half of 1995, he waited 13 years to have his second transplant, far longer than the typical wait for those on the transplant list.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, the typical wait for a kidney is five to seven years.

This time, the kidney came from a dead donor.

The journey of survival has been a long, tough one for Mr Seow.

In 1981, when Mr Seow's father, Mr Seow Yan Leong, now 80, a provision shop keeper, donated the organ to his eldest son, the move went against the family's wishes.

The younger Mr Seow recalled: "My grandmother was against the idea, but my mother's cousin - who had one kidney removed after injuring his back when young - told my dad he's been living with one kidney for the last 40 years.

"That convinced my dad to go ahead."

But in 1995, the donated kidney started to fail.

Mr Seow needed a second transplant, otherwise, he would need to be on dialysis, said assistant professor Terence Kee, programme director of the renal transplant programme at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). He is also the senior consultant of SGH's renal medicine department.

"However, it is rare for a patient to receive a second transplant due to the lack of donors in Singapore," Prof Kee added.

But Mr Seow, who is married and has a daughter, remained upbeat.

He said: "The estimated maximum lifespan of a transplanted kidney is about eight years.

"My father's kidney lasted 15 years, so the donated organ had already doubled its projected lifespan."

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