A mother who started her nursing career at a Manchester hospital 21 years ago has received a life saving operation from her own health colleagues.
Mini Karuppan, a Senior Clinical Research Nurse in Diabetes, had an unwelcome surprise when she entered her early 40s – she discovered she needed a new kidney. She was placed on the waiting list and had expected to wait for five or six years for the right donor match to be found.
Prior to the diagnosis, Mini had felt slightly unwell and a routine trip to her GP practice revealed she had high blood pressure. However, subsequent blood tests revealed one of her kidneys was not functioning correctly and she needed to go on the transplant waiting list for a new kidney.
In 2015, this was a major shock to both Mini and her husband, Baz, and Sid, their 11-year-old son.
After Mini discovered she needed a new kidney, she said the hospital staff were extremely supportive and gave a lot of information on exercise, fluids and nutrition, as well as offering additional support and guidance from the hospital team.
Mini, now 46, from Altrincham, said: “I was very lucky and only had to wait just over two years. It was five years ago and I’m so lucky to be still working where I started back in 2001, thank goodness! I am so grateful to the team here in Manchester with Mr Rajinder Singh and Professor Titus Augustine and the brilliant teams across the hospital – I hold them all up in such high regard.”
Seeing Mini’s experience first-hand motivated her son, Sid, who turned 18 in May, to sign up to the Organ Donor register.
In total, there are currently 782 people across Manchester who need a lifesaving organ transplant. They need people to say yes to organ donation so they can get the organ they so desperately need.
Mini added: “I came home from work last year to discover my son Sid had registered his name with the organ donation list. I was quite surprised at first. However, he has seen the impact and the positive difference it has made to our family. I’m so thankful I was able to get a matching kidney so fast and really grateful to the donor and their family – we keep in regular contact via the post.”
Mini writes a letter to the family twice a year to thank them – at Christmas time and during May, which she calls her ‘Kidneyversary’. The two parties don’t know each other, as their letters are managed anonomously through the North West Organ Donations Services Team.
Mini is of Indian heritage which potentially made finding an organ match more challenging, as donation levels are lower from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. From white donors, the organ donation consent rate in 2021 was, on average, 75% compared to 36% consent rates from people of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
Last year, Manchester hospitals carried out 312 transplant operations – this is on the rise and the latest figures were recorded at 166 for the first six months of 2022, so is on target to further improve on last year’s number. Mini had her operation at the end of May 2017, and since then more than 1,500 other patients have also received a life saving transplant.
Laurence Frys, Specialist Nurse for Organ Donation at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), added: “Organ donation saves lives and one organ donor can save or transform up to nine lives and even more by donating tissues as well.
“How amazing it is that we are able to provide the skilled service of transplanting a heart or lung at Wythenshawe hospital, as well as pancreas and kidney at Manchester Royal Infirmary hospital – all under the umbrella of one hospital trust.
“I know that more families agree to donation if they know their loved one was on the Organ Donor Register. Save your family from having to guess what you would have wanted. Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and let your family know your decision. One day it could be someone you love in need of a transplant.”
Organ Donation Week is from 26 September – 2 October, 2022 and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust is marking it with this ‘Mini’ miracle story!
Find out more about organ donation here or telephone 0300 123 2323.