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Wayne Duncombe awaits a second transplant

Wayne awaits a second chance kidney transplant.
Wayne awaits a second chance kidney transplant.

Wayne knows both sides: the life of continual dialysis hooked up to a machine for hours at a time multiple times per week and also the benefits of life as a grateful kidney transplant recipient. Wayne had been on dialysis for four and a half years when his wife donated a kidney which resulted in a successful transplant. This freed him from the constraints of life on dialysis.

For the next seven or so years, with the new-found liberty to travel and enjoy life to the full, Wayne and his wife ensured that they made the most of being together. They indulged in their mutual passion for travel and saw some incredible sights. Wayne and his wife had planned a romantic white Christmas in Paris, when unfortunately he fell desperately ill with a life-threatening infection. This illness resulted in him spending two and a half weeks in an Intensive Care Unit in Paris.

The doctors suggested to Wayne’s wife that she should prepare for the worst and that Wayne was not likely to survive. Unfortunately during his critical illness Wayne’s transplanted kidney failed.

Amazingly, he survived and made the return trip home. He resumed the life of a dialysis patient: three times per week for five hours per session.

Wayne now finds himself back on the transplant waiting list along with approximately 1,600 other Australians. Finding a suitably matched donor will not be as easy, because his body has developed antibodies that increase the risk of rejection of the new organ. Wayne explained that he has been listed for a new program which may improve his chances of receiving another transplant. This program makes the most of the occasional situation where an organ donor donates two healthy kidneys and there is only one well-matched recipient. It involves intensive treatment of the recipient in the hours before and for several days following the transplant to reduce the risk of rejection for the transplanted kidney. This new approach and treatment is achieving promising results and means that people like Wayne can have the benefit of a transplant when there would otherwise be no suitable recipient for a donated kidney.

Wayne is hoping that DonateLife week will be effective in getting more Australians thinking and talking about organ and tissue donation.

During DonateLife week Australians are being urged to ‘have the chat that saves lives’ with their family and friends and Discover the facts, Decide and register, Discuss your decision with family and friends… www.donatelife.gov.au