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Kidney transplants resume at the RAH

A special cross-border exemption has allowed the smooth passage of interstate kidneys for transplant at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, changing the lives of three young South Australians.

Kidney transplants have been able to resume at the RAH this week, following the suspension of non-urgent elective surgery as part of the COVID-19 response.

With Victoria’s kidney transplant program remaining on hold due to their state-based restrictions, SA Health worked together with SAPOL to gain Essential Travel clearance to facilitate the smooth passage of the kidneys via road travel between the borders and get them to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for immediate surgery.

This resulted in the surgeries beginning 12 hours earlier, with the procedures successfully completed three hours before they would have arrived by plane.

Two of the kidneys were transported to Adelaide from Victoria on Sunday, while the third kidney arrived yesterday.

All three young recipients are recovering from their surgeries, on Sunday and last night respectively, at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Director of Transplant Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Toby Coates, said the restart is positive news for patients on the transplant waiting list.

“While patients can be maintained successfully with dialysis treatment, a transplant is the ultimate treatment because it offers significant benefits in terms of life expectancy and the quality of life,” Dr Coates said.

“The fact that kidney transplantation can now resume safely will have a profound impact on the lives of our patients and their families.

“We are overjoyed to have this service back in operation and look forward to getting back to providing six to eight kidney transplants every month.”

Depending on the urgency, the average wait time for a kidney transplant is about three years.

*Pictured (L to R) are Director of Transplant Medicine at the Royal Adelaide Hospital Professor Toby Coates, transplant nurse Hilary Styles, kidney transplant recipient Corinne Troncone and transplant nurse Jill Diack.

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