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By Lisa Hamilton
Guyana, through the Georgetown Public Hospital Complex (GPHC), has successfully completed its first kidney transplant done on non-Guyanese patients who travelled to the country for the procedure.
The patients were Grenadian, Dr. Germaine Bristol who was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the last stage (stage 5) of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD); and her son, 19-year-old son, Gerron Bristol who donated his kidney. The surgery was conducted by Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Dr. Kishore Persaud and team.
At the GPHC’s Resource Centre on Monday, officials, including Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, provided an update on the outcome of the procedure. According to Dr. Anthony, he was made aware of the request for the transplant to be done in Guyana by Dr. Persaud and he also received a call from the Minister of Health in Grenada, Nickolas Steele.
He said that he then encouraged Dr. Persaud to offer the service and to do what it takes to ensure that the surgery was successful. It was stated that President Irfaan Ali would also call to check in on the success of the transplant from time-to-time. Appreciation also went out to Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy.
“Whatever the Administrative hurdles were, we were able to clear them and over the last week or so we have had very successful surgery with Dr. Bristol,” he said. He congratulated Dr. Persaud and team for their work on the transplant and all past successful surgeries. He also committed the Government’s support to ensuring that they receive the necessary tools to enhance their work.
In his remarks, Dr. Persad said: “Today, we have shown what we can do with the limited resources given to us and I hope that soon we can be blessed with a transplant suite and with transplant legislation and we can be guaranteed success not only for Guyana but the Caribbean in the field of transplantation.”
Minister Anthony said that a legislative team is working to develop such legislation with progress over the last three months and the completion of the first draft. He said that PAHO/WHO — as well as other stakeholders locally and internationally — is providing advice on moving forward.
Meanwhile, Director of Medical & Professional Services at the GPHC, Dr. Fawcett Jeffrey said that he is pleased to see the improvements at Guyana’s public hospital that have led to the successful surgery. “This is just the beginning of what we’re hoping to contribute to the Caribbean now and in the future,” he said.
When she spoke, Dr. Bristol thanked her son for giving her a new lease on life and the team in Guyana for facilitating the procedure. She also thanked the doctor in Grenada who made contact with the Dr. Persaud and thanked Dr. Persaud for accepting the challenge.
“I’m just so happy that I got to come to Guyana…it has been a great experience for me and I have been truly blessed,” she said. “I have been on dialysis now for nine years…even though it has been a very long and challenging road…I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to continue with my life and my work.” There were also two other Guyanese patients present involved in a successful kidney transplant — local doctor, Dr. Nywmekeye Griffith and her cousin (donor).