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County Armagh woman receives kidney from husband and writes herself into NI medical history

Belfast City Hospital

A Tandragee couple have expressed their heart-felt gratitude to the City Hospital in Belfast after a life-changing kidney transplant saw them write their place in local medical history.

Philippa Holmes and her husband Peter – both aged 39 – underwent their operation on Tuesday, September 29.

Diabetic Philippa discovered three years ago that one of her kidneys was only functioning to 30 per cent of the capacity which it should. This had dropped considerably prior to the operation.

Belfast City Hospital

Belfast City Hospital

The Tandragee woman never required dialysis, as so many kidney patients do.

In fact, she was able to continue her job at the Belfast branch of Danske Bank right up until five days before she was due to undergo the operation – and became the 2000th kidney transplant patient in Northern Ireland!

Her ‘live’ donor was her husband, Peter, who was found to meet the criteria, after her parents, Ted and Nan Mason, were ruled unsuitable, despite having both volunteered.

The double operation saw Peter – a service engineer – having his kidney removed early in the morning. It was transplanted into his wife Philippa at around lunchtime the same day – and the operation hailed a success!

The couple, who are building a new home at Ballinderry, are hoping to return to work early in the New Year.

They are currently staying in Cranfield and attending twice-weekly check-ups at the City Hospital.

Philippa and Peter – who now hope to start a family – have been speaking to the Portadown Times.

“It means I now have three kidneys, although the other two aren’t functional and Peter has just the one!” said Philippa.

“He ordered me to look after his kidney! People can function totally normally on one kidney.”

The grateful Philippa added: “I would like to thank the staff of the City – those involved in my journey from being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease to the transplant – the surgeons took a short break between operations.

“Nearly everyone knows about deceased donations and people seem to think that ‘live’ matches have to be perfect. But Peter’s was just two out of the seven criteria and things seem to be going really well.”

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