Patients get kidneys from Australian killed in boating accident

New lease on life: Khamisah smiling as she is visited by Hospital Kuala Lumpur Nephrology Department head Datuk Dr Ghazali Ahmad, National Transplant Resource Centre head Datin Dr Lela Yasmin Mansor and trainee nurse Ummi Aisyah at the intensive care unit.

KUALA LUMPUR - Australian tourist Shelly Elizabeth Mahoney, who died after she was hit by a boom on her husband's yacht during a storm near Penang, became Malaysia's first cardiac death organ donor.

Before the procedure last Friday, Malaysia only took organs from those certified as "brain dead".

One of Mahoney's kidneys was harvested and given to end-stage kidney failure patient Khamisah Othman.

Kamsiah had been waiting almost 20 years for a kidney in order to get the transplant.

The operation was carried out at about 10pm on the same day that Mahoney died.

It was completed at 1am the following day.

The other recipient of Mahoney's kidney was a 42-year-old housewife in Kedah.

Khamisah, 36, almost gave up hope of ever getting a transplant.

Hailing from Sik, Kedah, she is now finally able to pursue her dream career.

"I've always wanted to be a lecturer," she said at Hospital Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

On how she was feeling post-op, Kamsiah said she felt weak as her red blood cell count was low following the operation.

Khamisah, who tutored students to support herself, said she went on haemodialysis three years after she was diagnosed with kidney failure in 1994. She was in Form 5 then.

She said securing a job was difficult as she had to go for haemodialysis three times a week.

Hospital Kuala Lumpur Nephrology Department head Datuk Dr Ghazali Ahmad said Mahoney's kidneys were healthy.

"She seemed to have led a healthy lifestyle," he said.

Khamisah said she, too, would adopt a healthy lifestyle.

"I do not want to be on dialysis anymore," she said.