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Mater Hospital

"If I hadn’t been given that heart my daughters would have never been born"

The Mater Hospital is today celebrating 10 years of lung transplants and thirty years of heart transplants.

TODAY THE MATER Misericordiae University Hospital (MMUH) is celebrating thirty years at the centre of transplant operations in Ireland.

The hospital has been conducting heart transplants for the past 30 years and lung transplants for the past 10 years.

Speaking today about the facility, Patrick Barry, who was the youngest person in Irish history to receive a heart transplant when he underwent the operation in 1993 at the age of 11.

On his operation, he said:

I have two young children. When people visualise themselves donating their organs, they only see themselves saving one life, but it’s so much more. I was given that organ when I was 11 and if I hadn’t been given that heart my daughters would have never been born. So you’re not only saving one life, you’re helping create ones.

leo varadkar at mater - 2 Minister Varadkar pictured with Veronica Doyle, the first person to have a lung transplant in Ireland Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland Leah Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

What has the anniversary today involved? 

Today’s anniversary has seen the Minister for Health Leo Varadkar joining a number of representatives from the hospital, along with a number of patients who have undergone transplant operations over the years.

The MMUH began its heart transplant programme in September 1985.

Since then it has become the national centre for cardiac surgery, as well as heart and lung transplantation.

The hospital carried out Ireland’s first successful lung transplant in May 2005 and the first successful double lung transplant a year later.

Speaking today at the hospital, the Minister Varadkar, said, “the 330 heart transplants and 130 lung transplants performed in the Mater over the years are a credit to everyone who has worked on the hospital transplant programme.”

leo varadkar at mater - 1 Minister Leo Varadkar with CEO of the Mater Mary Day (left), lung transplant recipient Kate Kavanagh and heart transplant patient Patrick Barry Leah Farrell / Photocall Leah Farrell / Photocall / Photocall

Transplant recipients

Also speaking at the hospital today was Kate Kavanagh, who underwent a double lung transplant last year. Kate had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at birth and the operation was an inevitability in her lifetime.

Speaking today, Kate said, “I am forever indebted to my donor family, through their selfless act they have given me new life, new hope and a second chance at living. I would encourage everyone to not only carry a donor card but to sit down with their family and let them know your wishes.”

Read: Electrical fire at Mater Hospital this afternoon 

Also: “Disappointing year” for organ donations – just 63 in the whole of 2014

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