TWO patients have undergone landmark transplants at a unit which is to benefit from additional funding to increase the number of operations it carries out.
Fraser Sneddon and Lesley Ross have been given the best start to the New Year after they became the latest transplant patients at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Fraser, 25, became the 1000th patient to undergo a liver transplant at the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, while Lesley, 49, was the 1000th patient to receive a kidney since the kidney transplant service transferred from the Western General Hospital in 1995.
The Scottish Liver Transplant Unit, which opened in 1992, is to benefit from an additional £888k of Scottish Government funding to increase the number of liver operations they are able to carry out.
The unit will now have the capacity to undertake up to 120 liver transplant operations per year.
Today Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “Meeting Fraser and Lesley today, and seeing first-hand how a transplant can transform lives, reinforces the important role that transplant teams across Scotland play every day of the year.
“It is important that we recognise the commitment and dedication of all those involved in organ donation and transplantation, whether they work in ICU or the transplant unit, or are involved with the retrieval process.
“Liver transplantation in particular is seeing increasing pressures, with more and more people needing transplant ops and I hope that this additional funding will help to improve many more lives, like Fraser’s.”
Professor John Forsythe, Consultant Surgeon, NHS Lothian and Clinical Lead for Organ Donation and Transplantation in Scotland, said: “This is a phenomenal milestone, not only for NHS Lothian but for Scotland as a whole. It has been achieved because of the hard work of the whole transplant team in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
“When the Scottish Liver Transplant Unit was created in 1992, it was a small team. However over the years the unit and the team have grown considerably as has the number of transplants carried out. In the beginning, we would have done around 40 transplants per year, but now the figure has grown to more than double.
“The additional funding from Scottish Government will allow the unit to continue to provide top quality care for these patients from all over Scotland who need lifesaving and life-changing transplant operations.”
Fraser, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, was born with the congenital liver defect biliary atresia and when he was just six- weeks-old, he underwent an operation to correct the problem.
It was only when he turned 17 that he hit a “difficult patch”, he began to feel unwell and his health began to deteriorate.
He said: “This year is going to be amazing. I am going to really be able to enjoy it. I actually feel better already.
“I have always wanted a normal life and now I can have it. I had a super Christmas and now I am looking forward to a new start and a new year.
“I want to have a nine-to-five job, without worrying about how I look. I want to go on holiday and then one day I hope to get married and have kids.”
Mother-of-two Lesley, 49, from Edinburgh, suffered from the genetic condition polycystic kidney disease.
Her brother Duncan Williams, 51, flew to Scotland from New Zealand to donate a kidney.