NHS worker given 'second chance at life' by dad's kidney donation

Louise Cooper, who has polycystic kidney disease, received a kidney from her father David thanks to a live organ donation procedure.

NHS worker with kidney disease given second chance at life with live donation from her dad NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

An NHS worker who became seriously ill with a kidney disease was given a “second chance at life” by her dad.

Louise Cooper, 43, who works at Paisley’s Royal Alexandra Hospital as an admin assistant and ward clerk for cancer services, become seriously ill as a result of polycystic kidney disease.

Her kidney function dropped to just 4% due to a genetic disorder which causes the kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time as a result of clusters of cysts developing. 

The NHS worker also suffered a double subarachnoid haemorrhage – a stroke caused by bleeding on the brain – in 2021 which caused her condition to deteriorate further.

She had started discussions with clinicians about going on long-term renal dialysis, which would have placed major restrictions on her daily life. 

However her dad, 69-year-old David, stepped in to offer a donation to his daughter.

Louise Cooper was given a live kidney donation from her father David last year.NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Louise, from Renfrew, said: “Dialysis is quite restrictive and I was still actively working, so I didn’t want to have to go down that route.

“But between 2021 and 2023 things were just getting worse and worse to the point that my kidney function was at 4% – I was at end stage renal failure.

“No one knew I was unwell – I think my body had just got used to functioning at that level. 

“I’d go into the clinic and the consultants would be surprised how well I looked despite my very low kidney function. I think my body just got into a habit of coping.

“The topic of organ donation came up and my dad had always said he would happily give. 

“My mum had a transplant 15 years ago and he went through the testing process for her but he wasn’t a match. She got hers from the deceased donor list. 

“When the topic of my kidney function getting worse came about, my dad said, ‘well I’ll happily get tested and see if I’m a match’.

“It was never a question, his attitude was just that of course he was going to do it. 

“I don’t know how I could ever repay him – he’s my absolute hero.” 

David, 69, stepped in to offer a donation to his daughter.NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

The transplant took place at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on July 28, 2023.

Mr Cooper was taken first to have his right kidney removed through keyhole surgery, and his daughter was brought in for her operation as he was taken to recovery. 

Staff said the surgery was successful and her kidney function is now at around 47%, allowing her to return to work full time. 

She praised her dad’s generosity, and encouraged others to consider live donation if they are able to. 

She said: “I remember asking my dad, ‘are you sure you want to do this?’. And he just said, ‘absolutely’. 

“He must have been in pain after the operation, but he’s never once complained throughout any of the process.

“It’s just the person he is – he’s an absolute gem. I already feel a lot better and have more energy.

“The doctors did say that because I wasn’t on dialysis I wouldn’t feel the immediate effect of the transplant – they said it’d take between six and eight months for me to feel ‘normal’. 

“But compared to where I was, it’s night and day.

“I would encourage anyone who is able to, to think about live donation.

“It’s the best gift you could ever give, the value can’t be overstated. It gives someone a second chance at life.”

The Scottish Government launched a Living Kidney Donation campaign in January which aims to raise awareness of the “exceptional gift” people can give to save or transform someone else’s life. 

Over the last 60 years, more than 1,900 people in Scotland have helped others by donating a kidney, figures show.

World Kidney Day is on Thursday, March 14 and aims to raise awareness of kidney disease and its prevention and treatment.

Figures show 400 people in Scotland are waiting for a transplant at any one time. 

A kidney from a living donor generally offers the best outcomes for patients living with kidney failure who need a transplant.

A healthy person can live a completely normal life with one working kidney, and people can donate to a loved one in need or can donate altruistically to a stranger on the waiting list who is a match. 

To find out more, visit livingdonation.scot.  

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