By: Lucy Johnston
Published: Sun, July 7, 2013
Reuben was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary in December
At the same time she made medical history by becoming the first grandparent liver donor.
Mrs Kinder, 42, said: “The doctors told me I had a chance of dying in the operating theatre or after surgery but they couldn’t stop me. Nothing anyone could say would have changed my mind.
“I was ready to risk my life to save Reuben.”
One-year-old Reuben was born with a rare liver condition, a form of biliary atresia, in which the bile ducts become blocked.
His mother Beth Kinder, 26, a hospital patient adviser, said: “Reuben couldn’t have gone on much longer. When they opened him up they said his old liver had almost stopped functioning.”
Tracey, from Goole, East Yorkshire, stepped forward when other possible donors, including Reuben’s father, builder Mark Gerard, 26, were told a liver donation from them wouldn’t work.
There is a desperate shortage of donors and last year seven children died while waiting for a transplant.
Up to 40 per cent of child liver transplants are now donated by relatives. Surgeons prefer to use parents and younger family members as donors because grandparents are older and likely to be less fit. Mrs Kinder said: “I don’t drink and I don’t smoke and I’m not overweight so I ticked a lot of the boxes, but they still try to put you off with warning you about all the risks of surgery.
Both Reuben and Tracey are doing well (PIC JONATHAN POW)
I was ready to risk my life to save Reuben
“I had to offer. I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. Reuben was becoming more unwell and we had no idea when a donor would be found.”
Reuben was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary in December and stayed there until his operation in May. Both he and his grandmother are recovering well.
Last week the Welsh Assembly passed a law giving doctors the right to remove people’s organs unless they registered an objection before dying.
NHS Organ Donor Register: www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.