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Mother gives the gift of life to her daughter for a second time

25 June 2019

Eighteen-year-old Phoebe O’Connell, is celebrating her new lease on life after receiving the ultimate gift thanks to her mother, Katy, who donated a kidney to Phoebe after her kidneys were destroyed by Meningococcal.

The student is one of eight lucky patients to have received a kidney transplant at Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH) on the same day, with a further four liver transplants that also happened that day.

The PAH Transplant Surgeon of close to 25 years who has performed over 700 transplants, Dr John Preston, said he was happy to be able to assist the family after their difficult journey.

“This family have been through a lot and suffered significant stresses over the past few months,” he said.

Appearing in excellent health, Phoebe complained of a headache one morning and ended the day in ICU, diagnosed with Meningococcal.

The infection wreaked havoc on Phoebe’s body, destroying her spleen and both her kidney’s meaning she required urgent dialysis treatment.

After undergoing several months of frequent dialysis, PAH became Phoebe’s second home. 

Phoebe’s mother, Katy O’Connell, said donating her kidney was a small price to pay.

“Now I see our Phoebe coming back, it’s been seven months and she’s finally coming back.

“For my 50th birthday I got my daughter back,” she said.

Weeks after the successful live-related kidney transplant, Phoebe is on the road to recovery.

“I’m feeling a lot better, I can walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I’m going to pass out. It feels like I’m free,” said Phoebe.

PAH is the centre for kidney and liver transplants in Queensland, with a recent spike in transplant activity resulting in 38 transplant surgeries over the past four weeks.

Watch the story here:

Last updated 25 June 2019
Last reviewed 25 June 2019

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