After waiting 6 years for a kidney transplant, a woman was not going to let a vacation stop her from having lifesaving operation.
The Sydney citizen Kathie John was winched from cruise ship into helicopter and flown to Westmead Hospital after she got the call to say that there was a kidney for her. She underwent surgery within hours.
“I have been given my total freedom back. I am no longer hooking up to a machine. It’s amazing,” the Strathfield Council worker said.
“It is great to feel like a human again and have a normal life.”
Having all but given up hope of a transplant after years of being hooked to a dialysis machine three times a week, Ms John was two days into an eight-day cruise aboard the Emerald Princess and heading to Tasmania when she received the call to say there was a donor kidney available and her name was next on the list.
Patients have 20 minutes to respond before transplant co-ordinators contact the next person on the waiting list.
Ms John jumped at the offer. As astonished cruise ship crew members and her mother looked on, she was winched from the top deck of the ship into a helicopter which had scrambled from Victoria, and rushed to Westmead earlier this week.
“I just want to thank staff at Westmead who have done so much for me, leaving their families in the middle of the night to do the surgery,” she said.
Westmead Hospital transplant co-ordinator Paul Robertson said:
“The timing was not ideal for Kathie but if she didn’t seize the opportunity she may have had to wait another two years for a donor.
“We’ve never had to winch anyone off a cruise before. Normally people are at home or work when the calls come.”
For reports on other cruise ship accidents see at CruiseMinus.com