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Lockdown transplant for toddler Ruby

Thursday, August 6, 2020

A toddler underwent a lifesaving transplant op during the lockdown - with her gran providing the kidney she needed.

Ruby Simpson, two, has spent most of her life on dialysis and medics had feared she may not survive. Mum Chloe Simpson, 24, had a healthy pregnancy but at 26 weeks one of the foetus' kidneys appeared unusually bright, and it took three attempts to successfully induce the baby.

Ruby was born in a membrane, a one in 80,000 rarity, and besotted Chloe and then-boyfriend Danny Simpson, 24, were able to take her home to Kelty, Fife. But a check up at Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife, sparked concerns she was cold and clammy as well as having suffered jaundice, and Ruby was transferred to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Aged 12 days old she was diagnosed with congenital nephrotic syndrome. Medics warned she may not survive as she was suffering complete renal failure, and Ruby was taken to ICU.

Both kidneys were removed at seven months old, and Ruby has had to have dialysis ever since. The young family knew a kidney donation would change their daughter's quality of life and in November were told she was big enough to have one.

Gran Dawn Thomson, 52, was told last March she was a tissue match and in December that she could become a donor - but when coronavirus hit the op was postponed.

The operation went ahead on July 1 at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, but Dawn will have to wait until October to be able to see her only granddaughter. Gran-of-one Dawn, from Penicuik, Midlothian, had surgery an hour before Ruby, at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital on the same campus.

Mum-of-one Chloe said: "Ruby has been on dialysis for two-and-a-half years at home, overnight, every night. We had to wait until she was big enough for a transplant and we were told in November that she could have one, Mum was told just after Christmas that she could be a donor.

"The transplant was scheduled for April but Covid pushed that out the way. Dialysis life was quite tough, and Ruby has never followed the doctors' plan, she has always done her own thing.

"Since the transplant, the change in her has been amazing, her colour has changed. She was always quite pale and ghostlike, but she's much pinker. She was always a wild child before but her energy levels are better."

Chloe was unable to visit her own mum after surgery was carried out, due to the pandemic. The family have kept in touch through Facetime and Ruby has only seen her gran once for a socially distanced visit. Chloe and Danny have been staying in Glasgow since July at a flat provided by a charity, and have been told Ruby will need to shield until October 1 due to the op. Chloe said: "It feels like ages, we started shielding on March 16 and it will be seven months. Hopefully Mum will see Ruby in October, it depends on the outside situation."

Dawn, who works for NHS Fife, said: "There was no hesitation, even when I was told what could go wrong. I said 'no matter what happens I'm making the right choice' - there's major risks in surgery, you are having a major organ removed for no reason.

"Hopefully it will last for 25 or 30 years, Ruby has not had much of a childhood so far. It has been a long year-and-a-bit to get here."

Dr Ian Ramage, a pediatric nephrologist, who has been looking after Ruby since she was 12 days old, said: “The operation went very well and the kidney worked immediately. Within 24 hours Ruby had normal kidney function.

“It’s a big operation for someone so small, and while there have been a few complications post op, it’s nothing we wouldn’t have expected to see. Long term Ruby will be able to grow and develop normally.

“She is not hooked up to a machine and not restricted in what she can eat. It’s not a cure but it will provide a much better quality of life and a longer life for Ruby.” ENDS

Copy and pic courtesy of SWNS (news agency)

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Last Updated: 06 August 2020