Recently, Hamad Medical Corporation proved itself a shining beacon of care for its patients. Many months of planning, coordination across various disciplines, and liaising with external organizations, culminated in the successful inauguration and establishment of HMC’s Pediatric Renal Transplant Program, with its first pediatric patient. Initial steps began in 2011 with the opening of Qatar’s Center for Organ Transplantation, responsible for the surgical management of patients with end-stage organ failure, and accredited by America’s United Network for Organ Sharing. An extensive public awareness campaign occurred during the summer of 2012 which focused on dispelling misconceptions and encouraging organ donor registration. This aspect of the pediatric renal transplant was crucial to ensuring its success, as availability of viable and suitable organs had been a huge obstacle and hindered the establishment of the program in past.
Using donated organs requires extensive preparation and experience, especially with pediatric renal transplant. The preparation ensured all protocols, from pre and post-op to calculation of medication and fluids to immunosuppressant protocols, were standardized and in place to provide the necessary care to these delicate patients. Pre-transplant workups, communication between teams and delineation of responsibilities were defined and understood, especially with regard to the various roles during pre and post-op period. The Renal Transplant Program is reliant on a multi-disciplinary approach, with input and collaboration with various departments – anesthesia, pharmacy, ICU, dietetics, social work, etc.
This extraordinary initiative will impact lives in a major way. HMC’s team offers patients kidney, liver and pancreas transplantation and a new lease of life and a chance to escape from endless hours of dialysis. This endeavor makes it possible to encourage pre-emptive renal transplants and the distinct opportunity to improve quality of life. Haemoid-dialysis is a long process and providing dialysis at home is demanding on the families. Patients with renal failure and in need of surgical interventions are prescribed multiple medications, therefore have a deficient immune system and stunted growth. There are approximately 500 patients dependent on dialysis, 120 patients waiting for kidney transplants and 14 patients waiting liver transplants. As with most countries, there is a shortage of available organs and far exceeds the list of waiting recipients.
Great progress has been made to provide patients with the opportunity of receiving transplant surgeries in Qatar instead of traveling abroad. Going forward, the Pediatric Renal Transplant Team intends to build on success and increase the number of transplant surgeries performed. The team has already started performing work-ups on new patients from Qatar and abroad. Furthermore, the Pediatric Nephrology Department has begun communication with Pediatric Perioperative Department towards initiating transplant surgeries on younger children.
In addition to the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program, the Pediatric Nephrology Department extended their service with the inception of the following programs:
- The Multi-Disciplinary Peritoneal Dialysis Clinic opened in November 2011, which runs alongside the Renal Failure Clinic
- The Multi-Disciplinary Chronic Renal Clinic, which creates a database of renal failure patients and centralizes the care provided, implemented in December 2012
- The Spina Bifida Clinic, the largest multi-disciplinary clinic at HMC boasts collaboration between 13 specialties, began in 2012
- 1st Pediatric Dialysis Unit, which was inaugurated in Jan 2013
The Pediatric Nephrology Department has made great strides in ensuring international standards of care are provided to the children of Qatar.