Doha, 3 December 2012: The wife of an Indian expatriate donated her kidney to her
husband in a successful transplant operation conducted recently at Hamad General
Hospital, a member of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).
The patient, 50-year-old Abraham Thomas has been diabetic for 22 years and has been
under the care of Dr Muhammad Asim, Nephrology Consultant at HMC, for the last eight
years. Mr Thomas had been referred from the Diabetes Clinic when laboratory tests showed
that his kidneys had quite advanced dysfunction.
According to Dr Asim, the patient did not previously show any symptoms of kidney
disease. “Kidneys have a large reserve of function and therefore many people do not have
symptoms until extensive kidney damage has occurred. The kidneys become progressively
weak with time, though the treatment provided slows down the deterioration.”
Two and a half years ago, the patient began receiving peritoneal dialysis treatment at HMC.
Mr Thomas and his family were kept informed about what was happening and the patient’s
treatment options. “Mrs Thomas is a staff nurse at HMC, and she and her husband were
aware that spousal kidney transplant was an option as they had compatible blood groups,”
said Dr Asim.
When Aleyamma Thomas, a mother of four girls, offered to donate her kidney to her
husband, she said her relatives were amazed at her sudden decision, but the good health
of both husband and wife after the surgery reconciled them to the decision. “I can only be
grateful foremost to God and then to my wife for this gift of life,” Mr Thomas said. The couple
also thanked HMC for the excellent care that they were given, and said that after this event,
their children are also considering becoming organ donors.
Dr Asim explained that when a kidney is taken from a living related donor, the results are
much better than if the kidney comes from a deceased donor. Having a living related donor
also means the patient does not have to go on the waiting list for organs from deceased
The Qatar Center for Organ Transplantation team, which is headed by Dr Yousef Al
Maslamani, works to ensure that related donors voluntarily agree to the donation without
any emotional pressure from relatives. Both the potential donor and recipient then undergo
vigorous medical tests to ensure that first, the potential donor is in excellent health and
capable of undergoing surgery, and then living with only one kidney; and second, that
the recipient is also fit for surgery and able to take strong medications after the surgery to
prevent his body from rejecting the kidney.
Dr Hassan Al Malki, Head of Nephrology said, “Because we give a lot of priority to
transplantation, we have set up a special clinic where we can expedite the investigative
work-up for potential donors and recipients, which otherwise could take many months.”
Both husband and wife passed the tests successfully. The operation was performed using
laparoscopy by the transplant team composed of Dr Al-Maslamani, Dr Riadh Fadhil, Dr
Abdulla Al Ansari, Dr Henrik Gjertsen, Dr Mohammed El Masry, Dr Hassan Al Thani, Dr
Omar Isam and Dr Abdel Kader Al Obeidy.
Both the donor and the recipient have subsequently been safely discharged from the
hospital. “We are pleased to say that both the kidney recipient and the donor are now doing
very well and both have excellent kidney function,” said Dr Asim who is providing post-
transplant care to the couple. “Mr Thomas is now leading a normal, dialysis-free life.” He
also pointed out that kidney transplants done at HMC have been largely successful and
the rate of infectious complications has remained very low, unlike in cases where patients
underwent transplantation abroad and came back with serious complications.
All the expenses for the patient’s dialysis, investigative work-up, transplant surgery,
medications after the surgery and follow-up clinic visits were shouldered by HMC. “This is
a system which is very hard to match elsewhere in the world. If the patient were to go to
another country to undergo the transplant, it could cost thousands of dollars,” Dr Asim said.
He added that many related recipients and donors who are living in other countries have
also benefited from a program that allows them to undergo transplant operations at HMC
free of charge.