AMC, SMMC collaborate for improved transplant process

J. Mercelina, Dr. Gil Gonzalez and Nurse Jacqueline Berkel.

CAY HILL–A Transatlantic transplant collaboration between Academic Medical Center (AMC) and St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has led to what SMMC calls an historic change for dialysis patients in St. Maarten.

  SMMC and AMC in Amsterdam, Netherlands on Thursday, February 2, established an improved transplantation process for dialysis patients in St. Maarten. Previously, wait-listed transplant candidates were required to move to the Netherlands to wait for a suitable kidney. This was often strenuous for patients, with uncertainty about when patients would actually receive the transplant.

  However, the new development allows SMMC patients to remain close to home, in their own environment, while they wait for possible donors. Once a suitable, matching kidney becomes available, the patient will immediately travel to the Netherlands to receive their new kidney as soon as possible. This new process increases the success rate of the transplantations, with reduced discomfort for the patients, SMMC said on Monday.

  J. Mercelina became the first SMMC dialysis patient to participate in the new transatlantic transplant project after having been a dialysis patient for more than 16 years.

  On the morning of Thursday, February 2, a matching living donor was confirmed by AMC, and Mercelina left for the Netherlands some hours after. Before Mercelina left SMMC he said “The rest behind me [I hope – Ed.] that they will get the chance that I got today. I hope that it will be successful, and I want to thank the big man above to be around so long, that it was possible.” SMMC said it has received news that Mercelina’s transplant had been a success and he is “making a speedy recovery.”

  Currently there are already three more dialysis patients who are preparing to receive transplants from possible living donors and another patient has just started the process, SMMC Nephrologist Dr. Maite Gil González said. The programme gives hope the doctor said adding that she is very happy about this development. “Transplantation is a miracle, and every donor is a hero.”

Source: The Daily Herald