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A Match Made in #HamOnt

Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2017

By St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

surgery

Photo by St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

NagaMani Turaga’s kidney was successfully transplanted into her husband, Bhargav Turaga, during a live-streaming of the surgery at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, which reached more than 121,000 Facebook users. This is the first time St. Joe’s has live-streamed a surgery and is believed to be a first for live-streaming a kidney transplant in Canada.

“The donor surgery and the transplant surgery went off without a hitch. Both patients are doing fantastic with the transplant working immediately and the kidney functioning well,” said transplant surgeon, Dr. Anil Kapoor.

St. Joe’s is a regional specialist in kidney care and undertakes more than 100 transplants a year. The hospital follows about 1,200 successful transplant patients, and does both live-donor and deceased-donor transplants.

NagaMani underwent surgery to remove one of her kidneys at 9 a.m. this morning. At the same time, St. Joe’s began its discussion about kidney disease, kidney health and the transplant process through social media. At 1:30 p.m., the transplant operation began for Bhargav, with St. Joe’s live-streaming the surgery on Facebook Live in between further educational materials. The operation ended successfully just over two hours later.

Bhargav Turaga suffered from kidney disease, with his kidneys functioning at about 5 per cent capacity. Facing dialysis, his wife NagaMani offered one of her kidneys, which turned out to be a match.

“I feel proud that I’m giving my kidney to my husband,” Naga says. “We’re not just life-sharing, but sharing organs too.” Bhargav adds: “I am lucky to have a wife like Naga.”

For the Turagas, having the recipient transplant livestreamed was a way to educate others about something that so personally affects their lives, and to give something back to those caring for them at St. Joe’s.

Comments and questions came in from across Canada, and attracted attention from as far afield as Australia, England, the United States and Uganda.

“We were looking for a unique and innovative way to tell the story about organ transplants, educate the public about kidney disease and raise the profile for organ donation,” said Dr. Darin Treleaven, Medical Director of the St. Joe’s transplant program.

Students from Saltfleet District High School as well as other schools watched the live-streaming of the surgery, and asked questions during transplant operation.

“Our students had an opportunity to make a real world connection and see what they’ve learned put into practice,” said Saltfleet principal Kevin Graham. “It was truly amazing to see the excitement from our students as they were watching the broadcast. I know there are some students who walked away excited about their future career paths.”

The day can be revisited online at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

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