There are very few events that can be defined as a noble acts, a kidney donation to a stranger is clearly one of them.
This type of donation took place last week at Soroka, when Ayala Amir, 48, a nurse from Gan Yavne and mother of five, donated a kidney to Liat Levy, 42, who had terminal renal failure due to glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the glomerulus), which forced her to be on dialysis for three years.
A living donation is when a healthy person donates one of their two kidneys to be transplanted into the body of another person whose kidneys have stopped functioning due to disease. The kidney transplant gives the sick person a new lease on life.
Living donations are common among close relatives as well as close friends, and we have recently begun seeing more altruistic donations. In an altruistic donation, there is a donor who wants to donate a kidney to a person they do not know, out of a sense of mission and desire to save a life.
Last week both the surgery to remove and transplant the kidney were performed at Soroka, and both patients have recovered well. The first and highly emotional meeting between the two took place at the hospital a few days after surgery, and the attending staff and family members also participated.
“It's hard to describe the level of excitement and the noble act of the donor. The meeting between the donor and the recipient is, without a doubt, the highlight of the process,” said Talia Mor Yosef, the nurse who has been part of the process from the very beginning.
The kidney was removed from Ayala's body through a laproscopic procedure, performed by Dr. Morad Asli , Deputy Director of Soroka’s Urology Department. The kidney was removed through minimally invasive surgery, which allows for quicker and easier healing than open surgery.
The transplantation was performed by a team that included Dr. Abd al-Rahman Abu Ghanim of Surgery A at Soroka jointly with Department Director Prof. Solly Mizrahi, anesthesiology staff and operating room staff.
After both procedures were completed, Ayala was hospitalized in the Urology Department and Liat in Surgery A and later in the Nephrology Department.
Ayala Amir, the kidney donor said, “I started thinking about donating a kidney because of my uncle, who became ill and needed a transplant. Sadly, he was not fortunate enough to receive one before he died. Regardless, I decided to go ahead and donate a kidney, because I had already gone through the process with myself, and had made the decision in my heart to donate a kidney and save a life. The way I felt the first few hours of the surgery and afterwards is nothing compared to knowing that I saved a life, an incomparable feeling. After surgery, you go back to being and feeling like the same person.”
Liat Levy, the kidney recipient said, “First of all, I’d like to thank Ayala. I have no words to describe what she did for me. She definitely saved my life! I want to thank the dedicated and professional staff at Soroka, who were involved throughout the entire process - the initial tests, compatibility and the surgeries.”
Dr. Abd al-Rahman Abu Ghanim, specialist surgeon in Surgery A at Soroka said, “The number of living kidney donations has been growing in recent years. It’s a very emotional event for donors, recipients and the medical staff. A transplant from a living donation is preferable to a deceased donation for numerous reasons, including Improved compatibility, increased survival and more. It’s important to state that the kidney transplant success rate in Israel is high and meets international standards.”
Numerous teams at Soroka participated in the transplant process: the transplant surgeons, nephrologists, urologists, the anesthesia and recovery staff, operating room and department nurses, and social workers.