Ahead of Valentine Day, woman gives husband a rare gift — her kidney

Shabbir, both diabetic and hypertensive, had to undergo dialysis for nearly two years.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published:February 11, 2016 4:50 am
Shabir and Rashida Poonawalla after their surgery at Noble Hospital. (Express Photo by: Arul Horizon) Shabir and Rashida Poonawalla after their surgery at Noble Hospital. (Express Photo by: Arul Horizon)

All through her 40 years of married life, Rashida has received several gifts from her doting husband Shabbir Poonawala. Now, days before this Valentine’s Day, it was her turn to give the ultimate gift – her kidney.

A day after the transplant, both 60-year-old Rashida and 63-year-old Shabbir are coping well with the operation.

“No gift of mine can match what my wife has given me,” a frail but happy Shabbir said told Pune Newsline on Wednesday.

Rashida was elated when doctors told her that they (she and her husband) had similar blood groups. “My husband is both diabetic and hypertensive and had to undergo dialysis for nearly two years. Waiting for four-hour dialysis conducted thrice a week was a trying task. While my husband regained his strength, the doctor suggested a transplant.We did not dismiss the idea,” she says.

After Shabbir’s health improved with a good diet, medications and regular hemodialysis, the need for a kidney transplant was discussed with the family. Shabbir’s three sons — Murtuza, Ibrahim and Huzeifa — willingly offered their kidney as all of them had the same blood group, A+ve. However, it was Rashida who insisted that her blood group was also matching and she would donate the gift of life to her husband.

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The transplant was performed on February 9 at Noble Hospital. Several investigations were done two months prior to the transplant, Dr Avinash Ignatius, senior consulting nephrologist at DaVita, an organization that provides kidney care services, said.

While kidney transplants among couples are not rare, there is just 25 per cent chance of blood groups matching, say doctors. The most common ones are from parents — either mother or father — to the children or donation of kidney among siblings.

In Pune, nearly 100-125 kidney transplants are performed every year. The most common ones are from mother to son, Dr Abhay Huprikar, secretary of the zonal transplant coordination committee, said. “Of these, we find at least 30 such couples where the wife donates her kidney to the husband,” he said.

State to encourage cadaver kidney transplants

Admitting that live donor kidney transplants were being done more than cadaveric ones — In 2015, only 67 cadaver transplants done across Maharashtra with 16 in Pune — Dr Gauri Rathod, assistant director of human organ transplant cell at state’s Directorate of Health, said efforts were underway to encourage more cadaver kidney transplants.

“The waiting list of patients who require kidneys is growing and even if the relatives offer their kidneys, it is vital that awareness is created about transplanting cadaveric kidneys,” she said.

“One cadaver can save as many as eight lives. Despite the increasing awareness about the need to donate organs, only 35 per cent people come forward to donate organs of their dead relatives. We need to increase the donor pool,” she said.

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