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Irish Kidney Association calls for clarity after transplant postponed over ICU capacity issues

The association said it hopes this was an isolated incident

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE IRISH KIDNEY Association (IKA) has said it is “very disappointed” after a kidney transplant operation did not go ahead last week due to a lack of ICU beds at the Mater Hospital, where it was scheduled. 

The Mater said in a statement that it took the “unprecedented decision to cancel a transplant surgery” due to a shortage of beds, and “to ensure the safety of the transplant patient involved”.

There were “severe capacity constraints” in its ICU on the day, with some 50% of those being cared for seriously ill Covid-19 patients. 

The IKA said that it’s echoing a call from Organ Donation Transplant Ireland call for transplant activity to be “ring-fenced thus avoiding any further cancellations due to unavailable resources”.

There needs to be “more clarity on the reasons why more transplant operations are not taking place in Ireland”, the group said in a statement. The Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland Annual Report 2020 shows a decline in the number of transplants since 2017. 

“Our thoughts are with the patient, who was called for a life-saving operation, which was then postponed because of resource shortages, rather than a health issue,” the group said in a statement today. 

“In the UK, detailed reports are available on each of the steps which result in transplant. From this report we can see that in the year to April 2021, one transplant operation did not proceed in the UK due to the lack of a critical care bed,” the association said. 

“No such data is published in Ireland. This means we do not know what key actions are required to improve transplant rates,” it said. 

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It added that it hopes that the transplant not going ahead last month at the Mater was “an isolated incident and that it will not be repeated”.

The Mater said that “the decision was not taken lightly” and it “deeply regrets the impact that this had on the transplant patient, their family and the donor’s family.”

A serious incident management team has been set up in the hospital to learn from the situation. 

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