389 received organ transplants in Cambs, despite pandemic
- Credit: Ted Dodd
An Ely man who was born with one kidney and an undiagnosed heart problem was among 389 East Anglian people to receive a life-saving organ transplant last year - despite the challenges that Covid-19 put on staff.
Edward (Ted) Dodd, aged 26, was one of the lucky individuals in Cambridgeshire who received a transplant during the first 12 months of Covid-19.
Ted had a healthy childhood until he was 12 when his health started to deteriorate – his kidney and heart failed simultaneously.
Ted became extremely unwell and his parents were given a bleak prognosis.
Medical teams managed his health with a view to undergo a kidney transplant operation once he was eventually strong enough.
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In order to reach that goal, he was fitted with a mechanical heart valve to help stabilise his condition.
After a year, he was registered on the transplant waiting list and a couple of months later, received his first kidney transplant.
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Ted was able to travel to various countries, completed a parachute jump and started training for a career in the ambulance service.
In 2019, after 12 years with the kidney, his health began to deteriorate and he was placed on another transplant waiting list.
Ted says: “With Covid having such a big impact on hospitals, I was convinced I wasn’t getting a transplant.
“It might’ve been months or even years before the pandemic settled, we just didn’t know.
“I remember thinking ‘This is how it is now’.
“Then, one evening at dialysis, my phone rang completely out of the blue; it was the transplant team.
“The hospital was so quiet; the corridors were like a ghost town and all the staff were in top-to-toe PPE.
“They were truly amazing – they made me feel safe and I was home after just a week in hospital.
“A couple months after the op I walked eight miles with my best friend.
“Before my transplant I struggled to climb the stairs at home without stopping for a breath – that was the immediate difference it made to my life.
Ted has now moved into a new home and is back working on emergency ambulances.
He says it’s all because of his donor.
“Organ donation really is the most amazing gift – it has given me my life back...again.
John Forsythe, medical director at NHS Blood and Transplant says: “This past year has been completely unprecedented in the history of the NHS and in our wider society, so the fact that 389 people in the East received an organ transplant is amazing."
One family who made the brave decision to agree to donation during the height of the pandemic last year was 58-year-old Elaine Franklin's from Bedfordshire.
Elaine was returning home when she tragically collapsed outside the house she shared with her daughter, Kayleigh.
A hospital CT scan revealed she had a bleed on the brain and a few days following surgery saw Kayleigh and her family, receive the worst news from doctors.
Elaine had often talked about organ donation with Kayleigh and, when invited to talk to the specialist nurses about it, Kayleigh felt there was no decision to be made.
Elaine donated her liver, kidneys, heart valves, tissue and bone saving three lives in July 2020.
Kayleigh said: “I know how much of a difference mum’s gift will have made to these three people’s lives and the people around them.
“It fills me with such enormous pride and joy to know that my wonderful mum has made such an amazing difference”.