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Transplant is his last chance to live
Radha Basu
Sun, May 04, 2008
The Straits Times
For former airline officer Khairul Anwar Ibni, an ABO incompatible kidney transplant is his last and only chance to continue living.

Mr Khairul, 46, discovered that his kidneys were failing seven years ago during a medical check-up at work. No one in his family, including his siblings, was found to be a suitable match for a transplant.

He went for dialysis three times a week while still working as a senior officer at the airline, where he was earning $3,500 a month.

His company paid for the bulk of his medical fees. His wife, Madam Radiyah Mohamad Som, 43, stayed home to care for their four young children.

But Mr Khairul's condition deteriorated quickly. By 2006, he was so weak he could not walk properly. His weight dropped from 80kg to 55kg.

He was retrenched from his job that year and since then has had to bear his own medical expenses. The family of six rely on donations from relatives and friends.

In 2006, he had an operation to remove the parathyroid glands in his neck, which help regulate calcium in the body, because they were going into overdrive. During surgery, he had a cardiac arrest and his heart stopped beating for 10 seconds. Fortunately, doctors were able to revive him.

By then, his kidneys were barely functioning and he started daily dialysis treatments.

The toxic waste in his body has weakened his heart muscles so badly that his heart is now performing at only 15 per cent of its original capability.

Numerous requests for a kidney donor through phone calls and e-mails to friends and relatives - even those in Malaysia and Indonesia - came to nought.

Without a new kidney, his doctor does not think he can live beyond 18 months.

Said Dr Lye Wai Choong: 'This transplant is his only chance unless a stranger suddenly walks up and offers to donate a matching kidney. What are the chances of that happening now?'

Once Mr Khairul gets a new kidney, the condition of his heart will naturally improve, said Dr Lye.

But the prospect of getting a kidney from his wife brings little cheer to Mr Khairul.

'I'm so worried for her. What if both of us don't make it? My children will be orphaned overnight,' he said.

There is also the problem of raising $120,000 for the transplant operation. The $600 that Madam Radiyah makes monthly as a teaching aide is barely enough for the family's expenses.

Their savings have long since been wiped out. Mr Khairul hopes to get donations from the public to pay for his medical bills. Dr Lye has also spoken to Mount Elizabeth Hospital for discounts, Mr Khairul said.

'Usually, I'd rather not inconvenience others. But this time, I have no choice,' he added.

Nur Dianah Suhaimi

 

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