Girl found to have three kidneys

SINGAPORE - He was changing his daughter's diapers one day last year when he found bloodstains.

Shocked, Mr Kong Kok Keong, 36, and his Thai wife immediately took her to the hospital, where scans revealed that she has three kidneys.

This is yet another complication for three-year-old Sririta Phikun, who was born with congenital scoliosis, where a normally straight spine is curved, forming an "S" shape.

This condition is often associated with other organ defects.

Sririta was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis when she was six months old.

Then, her father had noticed that she was unable to sit upright and took her to the hospital for a check-up.

At her tender age, she has already been through five operations, including one where two titanium rods were inserted into her body to support her back.

The discovery of Sririta's duplex right kidney has become an added worry for her father who said that his daughter has not had an easy life.

Sririta has a healthy sister, who is five years old.

He said: "In the past, we used to take her to the hospital about three times a month. This month, she will have to go back at least four times for consultations.

"When I found out she has three kidneys, I asked myself, 'How can something like this happen to my daughter?'"

Duplex kidneys

Duplex kidneys

Sririta's right kidney is split into two, as she has two ureters extending out from that kidney.

Her bladder is obstructing the upper ureter, causing her to bleed when she urinates.

Sririta underwent a minor operation to insert a tube into her body to drain out excess blood and pus from her kidney.

Said Mr Kong: "The doctors are now observing her condition. Once her kidneys become less swollen, they will have to operate to remove the top part of her kidney."

He is afraid that the titanium rods inserted in her back may cause further complications as they are located near her kidneys. But he trusts that her doctors would know best.

Professor Yap Kim Hui, head & senior consultant of paediatric nephrology at the National University Hospital, said that duplex kidneys is the most common kidney defect seen.

It affects about 5 per cent of all newborns, but not all are immediately treated.

"At times, people with this defect remain asymptomatic. It is only when abnormalities arise due to this condition, such as infections or blockages of the urinary tract, that this defect is discovered," she said.

"There are people who may have this defect, but never learn about it in their lifetime."

Path to recovery

Path to recovery

Mr Kong hopes that Sririta will be able to undergo the operation this month, so that she can be on the path to recovery.

Sririta's previous operations to cope with congenital scoliosis had left her with multiple scars on her back.

The scars are 4 cm to 8 cm long.

She will have to go through an operation every year until she turns 12 to adjust the length of the rods.

Mr Kong said that Medifund and his Medisave are able to cover about 75 per cent of Sririta's medical expenses.

He foots the remaining amount from his $1,600 monthly salary and also with help from relatives and friends.

During the day, Mr Kong works as a mover and his wife, who is a housewife, becomes the primary caregiver for Sririta. Her most important task would be to ensure that Sririta does not suffer any falls.

Said Mr Kong: "Sririta cannot afford to fall down now because if she does, the rods in her back may pierce through her skin. We must be very careful."

Despite the family's difficulties, Mr Kong remains optimistic.

He said: "Of course, we are looking on the bright side. We want Sririta to get better."

This article was first published in The New Paper.