A HUSBAND gave his wife the ultimate gift – the gift of life – when his kidney was transferred to her using a technique pioneered by a “magician” professor from Coventry’s University Hospital.
Simon King have his wife Nicola his own kidney due to a trailblazing technique called plasmapheresis, which helps the body accept a kidney that does not match correctly.
The technique, which strips the blood of antibodies which could attack the new kidney, was pioneered by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust (UHCW) renal consultant, professor Robert Higgins.
It enabled Simon’s kidney to be accepted by his wife’s body.
Nicola, 33 and a mother of six, said: “We were researching our options and we knew I had high antibodies. We stumbled across Professor Higgins and his technique and knew we had to try it.”
Following a 14-month media campaign to find a donor, more than 50 prospective donors come forward to help the Oldham couple.
But none of them were a match for Nicola.
Then Kings were then referred to Coventry and Professor Higgins.
Simon, 35, said: “We think Professor Higgins has been fabulous. He is amazing. He has developed this method over 34 years and changed over 160 lives.”
Nicola, who has fought kidney disease for more than a decade, said she is feeling well since her surgery in June this year.
She added: “My energy levels are sometimes low, and that will take time, but the daily headaches and pain have gone. One guy has changed our lives.
“I could have stayed on dialysis, but this technique is the difference between having a life and just staying alive. We are really happy.”
Simon said: “We had a fight to get here, and there are 6,500 other people on the transplant list from all over the country. We wish that they could come here and get this treatment too.
“The staff have been terrific. They communicate in the right way and everyone is pleasant. We are more than happy to travel the 120 miles to come to Coventry because we trust and have high confidence in them. I couldn’t give a better recommendation.
“More donors should come forward, but if you can’t get a match don’t give up hope, get referred to Professor Higgins, he’s a magician.”
Professor Higgins said: “I am really pleased that Nicola and Simon are doing so well and I am delighted that they are so happy about their treatment.
“We are continuing to develop new techniques to ‘transplant the untransplantable’ in Coventry, together with research collaborators at the University of Warwick and in the USA. We would encourage more patients to get referred to us if they think it would help.”