New hope for dialysis patients at SMMC

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CAY HILL – New transatlantic transplant collaboration between Amsterdam hospital and the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has led to a historic change for dialysis patients on St. Maarten on Thursday, February 2.

Together with the Academic Medical Center (AMC) in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the SMMC established an improved transplantation process for their dialysis patients. Previously, waitlisted transplant candidates were required to move to the Netherlands to wait for a suitable kidney. This was often strenuous for patients, with uncertainty about when patients would actually receive the transplant.

However, the new development allows SMMC patients to remain close to home, in their own environment, while they wait for possible donors. Once a suitable, matching kidney becomes available, the patient immediately travels to the Netherlands to receive their new kidney as soon as possible. This new process increases the success rate of the transplantations, with reduced discomfort for the patients.

Mercelina became the first dialysis patient of SMMC to partake in the new transatlantic transplant project, after having been a dialysis patient for over 16 years. On the Thursday morning, a matching living donor was confirmed by AMC, and Mercelina left for the Netherlands some hours after.

Before Mercelina left SMMC he said: “The rest behind me [I hope] that they will get the chance that I got today. I hope that it will be successful, and I want to thank the big man above to be around so long, that it was possible.”

As for the future, there are already 3 more dialysis patients who are in the process of preparing to receive transplantation from possible living donors, and another patient has just started the process, stated SMMC’s Nephrologist Dr. Maite Gil González.

The possibility of this program gives hope, according to the doctor, who is very happy about this development. “Transplantation is a miracle, and every donor is a hero,” she stated. SMMC received news that Mercelina’s transplantation was a success, and he is making a speedy recovery.