Marla Marshall has been waiting for her second liver transplant since February this year – and now she’s worried that time is running out.
The Calgary mother of three daughters was born with neonatal hepatitis and had her first transplant in 1998. That liver is still failing.
With COVID-19 cases rising in Alberta, hospital ICUs are overwhelmed, pushing back life-saving organ transplants for many people like Marshall.
“My symptoms get worse, my eyes turn yellow, my bruises get worse and the wait gets longer,” said Marshall, who is in her 40s.
At this time, priority is being given to urgent cases involving deceased donor transplantation, but all live donor surgeries have been postponed, a spokesperson for Alberta Health Services told Granthshala News in an emailed statement.
As of Tuesday, there were 1,100 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, of whom 263 were being treated in the ICU.
The situation is also concerning in Saskatchewan, which last week halted its organ donation program due to a shortage of staff and intensive care beds brought on by the province’s fourth wave of COVID-19.
Saskatoon resident Jessica Bailey, who has been on kidney dialysis for the past two years, was finally given the go-ahead for a transplant on September 15 by her doctor.
Before a date could be set for her procedure, the province suspended all organ transplants. She was devastated.
“It’s a little depressing to think that you’re going to have your life back now, I don’t know what’s going to happen or how long we’ll have to wait,” said 35-year-old Kidney. said the patient.
“The longer I go without a transplant, the greater the risk that I’m going to die,” she said.
Experts fear that delays in life-saving procedures could lead to more deaths this year.
“This is a moment of extreme concern for all who are awaiting a transplant,” said Nem Maximovic, manager of national health promotion and education with the Liver Foundation of Canada.
“It could very well be an outcome that more patients die while waiting for the transplant list.”
What is happening in Alberta and Saskatchewan also affects Canadians across the country, Maximovich said, due to the uncertainty of what the future might hold in other transplant centers around the country.
He warned that the cancellation not only adds to the stress for patients and families who are waiting for a new organ, but also risks worsening their quality of life.
The pandemic has already taken a significant toll on transplant patients in various provinces as health care workers and other resources were diverted to combat COVID-19.
as per the latest figures Canadian Institute for Health InformationAs of December 31, 2020, there were 4,129 patients waiting for single transplant and 118 waiting for combination transplant across the country.
The data shows that a total of 805 dropped off the waiting list or died while awaiting transplant.
As the pandemic enters its 20th month, many are losing hope of their turn.
Dave Mathers of Calgary was awaiting his kidney transplant at Foothill Medical Hospital after being on a waiting list for three years.
The day before the surgery – set for September 8 – Mathers was told the procedure was canceled because there was no space in the ICU. The 61-year-old could not believe his luck.
“That moment… you feel like you’re going to be empty. You feel like it can’t be real,” he told Granthshala News.
Before a procedure, both the recipient and the donor go through months of rigorous testing, as they need to be as healthy as possible.
Flavia Robles de la Fuente, executive director of the Northern Alberta and the Territories Branch in Kidney, said, “If a surgery is indeed postponed, there is always the chance that someone may not be healthy enough to receive a transplant. ” foundation.
Mathers is concerned about the stress of his wife and daughter and also about the health of his donor.
“Something can happen to my donor and they cannot proceed and I will never get another anonymous donor.
“It’s a chance in a million.”
— With files from Granthshala News’ Heather Eurex-West, Su-Ling Goh and Nathaniel Dove
View Link »