David and Lindsey Clark
David Clark (49) suffers from polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited disorder of the kidneys. The progression of his disease meant that David needed a kidney transplant. This took place in December 2002 at Nottingham City Hospital.
David’s kidney was unfortunately rejected the following year. It took some time for him to recover and he went back on the waiting list for a new kidney two years ago. David relies on a dialysis machine, which he and his headteacher wife Lindsey (55) have been trained to use at their home in South Derbyshire.
Lindsey wanted to donate one of her kidneys to David but sadly their tissue types were not compatible. “There was what they term a positive cross-match when they mixed our blood together, which meant Lindsey couldn’t donate a kidney to me,” said David. His brother and one of his sisters are affected by PKD, which means they also cannot donate a kidney to him. A further hope was dashed when his other sister, who does not suffer from PKD, was found to be an unsuitable match.
David and Lindsey have told their local transplant centres that they are seriously considering the option of a paired / pooled living donor kidney transplant.
Under this scheme, couples like David and Lindsey who are not compatible with each other can be paired with others in the same situation. If there is a suitable match and the correct approvals to ensure there is anonymity between the donor and recipient of the kidney and no coercion or payment, the organs could be exchanged. So if a suitable pair was found, Lindsey could donate a kidney to the other couple and one of them could donate their kidney to David. The more people in the national scheme, the greater the chance of a kidney exchange with a compatible donor.
David said: “Thanks to the Human Tissue Authority which was set up to regulate living donor transplants, paired donation can take place in the UK. It brings hope to me and others who are in such desperate need of having a new kidney. This and the possibility of altruistic stranger donation should help to address the shortage of organs available. Anything that can help must be a good thing. In a few years time I hope this will be as common in the UK as it is starting to be in other countries.”
Patients needing more information should contact their nearest transplant centre. Details of transplant centres are available on the NHSBT website.