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Monday, 13 December, 1999, 12:00 GMT
Transplants: the waiting game

Some patients awaiting a transplant need dialysis

Every time the phone rings, Nitin Solanki has half a hope that the donor kidney he needs has been found.

But, invariably, the call does not bring the news he and his family want to hear.

Mr Solanki, 39, has been waiting for the right donor kidney for a total of four years. A transplant operation in 1997 proved a false dawn when his body rejected the kidney, starting the waiting game again.

His problem is the same as that faced by many kidney patients - that there are just not enough donor organs around. But his case is exacerbated because the scarcity is even worse for Asian patients.

The problem stems from low awareness among Asian people of the need for donor organs which has led to a large deficit.

It is very difficult. As soon as the phone rings, we are always expecting it to be the hospital
Nitin Solanki
Asian people are prone to diabetes and are two to three times more likely than white people to go into end-stage renal failure, requiring a kidney transplant. The organ donor pool is 95% of Caucasian origin, though 20% of those waiting are from ethnic minority groups.

Mr Solanki's family are unable to donate because of a history of high blood pressure.

"It is very difficult. As soon as the phone rings, we are always expecting it to be the hospital," said Mr Solanki, who is married with a nine-year-old daughter and lives in Leicester.

"I understand people not wanting to give their kidneys away, but I would like to see more people giving their kidneys."

Dialysis four times a day

He is on a regime of capillary action peritoneal dialysis, which involves performing dialysis himself four times a day while at home or at work.

Though he now accepts this as part of his daily routine, the main drawback is that it makes it very difficult for him to take a holiday.

"One of my daughter's friends has just been to Paris and she came home and said `Daddy, when can we go away?' It would be nice, but we can't," he said.

For the moment he must carry on with the dialysis and his work as a volunteer for the National Kidney Research Fund and keep hoping that the next time the phone rings it is the news he is waiting to hear.

The National Kidney Research Fund helpline is on 0845 300 1499.

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See also:
24 Feb 99 |  Health
More Asian organs needed
13 Dec 99 |  Health
Asian patients' organ donor crisis

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