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Mother of six boys donates kidney to adopted girl, procedure takes place in Pune

All the members of the Harris family, including father Ashton Harris, mother Joan and their six sons, readily agreed and offered their kidneys to save Sarah’s life. And the mother’s kidney matched and the procedure was carried out at Pune’s Jehangir Hospital on February 20.

pune Updated: Mar 01, 2019 15:08 IST
Nozia Sayyed
Nozia Sayyed
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,kidney,mother donates kidney
Archana Jana, Vrinda Pusalkar, Ashton Harris (Sarah’s father), Dr Deepak Kirpekar, Dr Dhanesh Kamerkar and Dr S M Ambike along with Sarah.(HT PHOTO )

A mother of six sons donated her kidney to the daughter that the family adopted as a two-year-old from an NGO 15 years ago. The Harris family hailing from Goa knew that their daughter, Sarah, suffered from a childhood illness known as spina bifida that affected her spine. The condition is known to affect the kidneys, mostly leading to renal failure.

The parents chose to adopt the female child from the NGO even after knowing her health complications.

Sarah was on dialysis for the last two years and hence a transplant was suggested. All the members of the Harris family, including father Ashton Harris, mother Joan and their six sons, readily agreed and offered their kidneys to save Sarah’s life. And the mother’s kidney matched and the procedure was carried out at Pune’s Jehangir Hospital on February 20.

Ashton said, “Sarah has a gap in the spinal column and due to lack of folic acid as a foetus, the gap developed into a tumour. As a result of which, she had issue passing urine and stools. The orphanage did have the tumour removed and had informed us as well. As a side-effect of the tumour, she had lost all sensation related to her bladder and whenever it was full she would dribble urine. Also, her bladder growth was stunted and there would be a reflux.”

With Sarah on dialysis for the last two years, the Harris family moved home to Goa after living in Bengaluru for 30 years to get better medical care for their youngest child.

Vrinda Pusalkar, transplant coordinator, Jehangir Hospital said, “The family’s love for their daughter is commendable. Even after having six boys, they wanted to have a girl child and adopted Sarah. Knowing her health complications they adopted Sarah and it is good news at a time when we hear horror stories of people killing female foetuses and indulging in illegal abortions.”

She said that the case also presented legal responsibility. “The orphanage from where Sarah was adopted sent us a letter informing us of her birth defect. Once the legal papers were in, it was our responsibility that the case would be approved without any hitch,” Pusalkar said.

Joan was operated by a team of three doctors while the recipient underwent the surgery by a team of doctors, including nephrologist, urologist and vascular surgeon. Dr Shrinivas Ambike, senior nephrologist, said, “The recipient’s mother’s kidney, despite her being 65 years old, was in good condition and given the blood group matched, it was an ideal situation to perform the transplant surgery.”

Dr Dhanesh Kamerkar and Dr Deepak Kirpekar, vascular surgeons, claimed that the surgery was a challenge. They said, “In this case the kidney had to be placed in the left side as the recipient’s right side was unavailable due to scarring. Also fitting an adult kidney into a small person’s body was challenging because Sarah has still not grown completely. Another issue was that Sarah had smaller arteries compared to that of her mother. These all made it a challenging case.”

Both the mother and daughter, post the procedure which was carried out eight days ago, have been discharged and are in stable and better condition, said doctors from the hospital.

First Published: Mar 01, 2019 15:07 IST