After Sarah Lamont’s third child, her son Joe, was born, she was given terrible news. Her son was born with a kidney disease and he would die if he didn’t get a kidney transplant soon. After Lamont offered to donate her own kidney, she was impatient to know how her son was faring on.
Single mother Sarah Lamont gave birth to her third child, a son called Joe, in late 2016. When he was born though, doctors immediately diagnosed him with polycystic kidney disease, a medical condition that causes cysts to form in the kidneys and cause organ failure.
Within weeks of Joe’s birth, his kidneys had enlarged and swelled to an enormous size. Doctors determined that they were too damaged to remain in his body, so they performed surgery and placed him on dialysis ever since they removed the affected organs.
If Joe didn’t have his kidneys removed, the disease would have also damaged his liver and caused him to bleed to death. As it was, Joe’s liver had already been affected by his condition.
On top of needing constant, regular dialysis, he would also have to have his liver and kidneys replaced if he wanted any chance of living a normal life.
When Joe’s mother heard the news, she knew what she had to do. Rather than wait for an appropriate donor to come along, Lamont took it upon herself to donate her organs to Joe.
“I think the doctors were anxious about broaching live donation to a single mum, so it was left to me to ask them,” Lamont recalled. “These things generally don’t happen instantly. There were a lot of discussions to make sure that I was aware of the risks and to make sure that I had no doubts.”
But once the doctors approved of Lamont as a donor and all the necessary tests had confirmed her organs matched Joe’s, everything went underway.
The first procedure set to occur was the liver transplant.
Both mother and son went under the knife just 11 days ago. Lamont’s procedure took eight hours and left her with a ten-inch scar, but doctors confirmed that Lamont’s donor liver was readily accepted by Joe’s body.
Both are projected to have smooth recoveries, although Joe is still being supported on IV drugs and a feeding tube.
“His recovery will be slow because he has no kidneys and is still on dialysis,” Lamont explained. “This is just the first stage of curing my little boy. He needs a kidney and then he will be like any other four year old.”
Even though doctors made certain to report all of Joe’s progress to his mother and she knew of his every doing, like when he was moved from intensive care to the high-dependency ward, Lamont wasn’t convinced. She had to see her son for herself.
Just three days after both patients’ surgeries, Lamont dragged herself out of her hospital bed and left the hospital to hail down a taxi to get to the hospital where Joe was staying, three miles away. “I know I shouldn’t have crept out without doctors saying OK, but I was desperate to see my wee boy,” Lamont confessed.
“So I got the nurse to take me off the painkiller drip and went over in my dressing gown and pyjamas. I paid for going to see Joe by being poorly for two days. I had quite a bit of wound pain and felt washed out, but I don’t regret going,” she said.
Although Lamont is still on her recovery bed in the hospital – after her surgery and after her escapade to the neighboring hospital, she knows that she’s ready to donate her kidney to Joe as well, hopefully come May.
“I’ve been there and done it once and now I’m ready to do it again,” she said. “This was the tougher and more dangerous of the two [operations].”
While everyone around Lamont is commending her for her bravery, she thinks little of it. “Joe hasn’t had a life yet as a normal child. And this year I want that to change,” she explained. “And I also want it to change for all the other children needing transplants.
“We need more people to sign up for the donor register and some parents need to think about being donors for their kids.”
We’re wishing both mother and son a speedy recovery and a smooth second operation in the near future.