Ex-army officer to receive daughter’s kidney

A 47-year-old ex-army officer is the next kidney transplant patient and according to a source close to his family he will receive a kidney from his 25-year-old daughter.

Winston George, a former major in the Guyana Defence Force, was diagnosed with renal failure in 2000 and has been on dialysis since then after being treated in Barbados that same year.

At present, he and his daughter, Melissa George, are patients at the Georgetown Public Hospital as they are being prepared for the operation set for tomorrow.

His kidney transplant will be the second in Guyana and comes seven months after the first ground-breaking operation was completed.
US transplant surgeon Dr Rahul Jindal, who will do the operation, will lead the same team of professionals who performed the first surgery.
Speaking to Stabroek News, a source close to the man’s family said that in early 2000 he became ill with high blood pressure and he visited numerous doctors but none of them could diagnose what was causing his blood pressure to remain high.

It was when he saw a doctor at St Joseph Mercy Hospital that he was told he had renal failure.
According to the source, the doctor told him he would have died shortly if he did not seek immediate medical treatment.
Major General (retired) Joe Singh was the head of the army at that time and he immediately ordered that the army’s helicopter fly the sick major out to Barbados. The major and his wife spent six months in Barbados where he was being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and he was placed on peritoneal dialysis.

He returned to Guyana after the six-month period and resumed duties as head of the army’s agriculture unit and according to the source he was functioning very well as once he received his dialysis all was well.

However, shortly after Singh retired George was retired from the army as medically unfit.
“That really depressed him because he was in the army since he was 17 years old and he was fit to work and they retired him. It really depressed him but God knows best,” the family source said.

While the man received his pension from the army no other form of assistance was given to him and the source said he is a father of six children, three of whom are still minors. Although his wife works and they receive assistance from “kind friends” it is still difficult for the family sometimes.
The source said George was told that most persons live for a period of ten years on peritoneal dialysis and after that they would have to receive a kidney transplant.

However, last year the man because very sick, suffering from stomach pains and vomiting constantly. He had to be placed on the haemofiltration dialysis, but yet he was in and out of the Georgetown Hospital, where he had joined the clinic.

Stabroek News understands that initially a sibling had agreed to give George a kidney but then opted out. Two of his children after seeing how much their father was suffering decided to take the test to see if either of them could donate a kidney to their father.
His daughter proved to be a match and she willingly agreed to give her father one of her kidneys.

“It is God’s work and what I would want to say to people is for them to always help others because you never know when you will need help,” the source said.

The overseas medical team that will perform the operation includes the Indian-born Dr Jindal of Brookdale University Hospital; Dr Edward Falta, Transplant Surgeon of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington; Dr Melenie Guerero, Pulmonary Care Physician; Laura Owens Transplant Coordinator, and Dr Arthur L. Womble attached to the Athens-Limestone Hospital, Athens, Alabama.
(Oluatoyin Alleyne)

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