Patricia Fitzpatrick from Letterkenny was fifty years old when she first began to experience the affects of a rare genetic kidney disease – Hereditary Tubulointerstitial Nephtitis. Patricia is one of a family of eighteen children – thirteen girls and five boys – and five of her brothers and sisters have already had kidney transplants at Beaumont Hospital, with several others in the early stages of the disease.
In the past year, Patricia and two of her siblings have undergone successful kidney transplant operations under the care of Professor Peter Conlon and his team in the National Kidney Centre.
Although she began to experience symptoms from the age of 50, Patricia was finally diagnosed with kidney failure eight years later and went on the kidney transplant list. In the meantime, Patricia required regular dialysis and was trained in managing her own home dialysis by the Home Dialysis Unit at Beaumont Hospital. After only 5 months of managing her condition from home, along with regular trips to Beaumont for check-ups, Patricia had a call from her cousin’s wife, Marian Blaney, to say that she was happy to enter the living donor programme as a potential kidney donor for Patricia.
The match was good and Patricia’s surgery went ahead in May 2016. The operation went well but the donated kidney was slow to work and Patricia spent several weeks on St Damien’s Ward as her new kidney began to function. She remembers feeling very worried following her operation but she was constantly reassured by staff that everything would be fine.
Honour Your Heroes Award
Patricia nominated Deirdre Twomey, of the Home Dialysis Unit to receive an Honour Your Heroes Award. They kept her alive until she was able to have her transplant. Patricia says, “The nurses in the Home Dialysis Unit kept me alive while I waited for my transplant. It takes me a while to get used to new things and I was very nervous. Deirdre trained me in and was so confident and reassuring and was always at the end of the phone to answer any questions”.