Surgeons made Portuguese medical history last week by performing the first triple kidney transplant using live donors in different hospitals. The highly-synchronised operation involved six surgeries in the same day in Porto and Lisbon, and three couples – all of whom had signed up in what is called a “pairs programme”. One of the recipients of a donor kidney told RTP news that he already feels “a 100% different”, able to eat and drink in a way that has been impossible for over 20 years.
The complexity of the operation was explained with a diagram which shows clearly how the pairs programme works. The wife in one couple donated her kidney to the renal patient husband of another woman, who in turn donated her kidney to a woman in Lisbon whose husband then donated his healthy kidney to the husband of the first woman in the chain.
It appears baffling at first, but doctors explained the beauty of the pairs programme is that it brings people together who cannot receive organs from loved ones, for reasons of incompatibility.
Portugal’s pairs programme has only 20 couple currently inscribed explained the station, thus there are plans to merge with a similar programme in Spain, where 100 couples are involved.