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72-year-old Mumbai woman donates kidney to her daughter

While 65 is usually the upper age limit for organ donation, doctors made an exception for Supriya Dighe to give her daughter her kidney, and a new lease of life

Although the upper limit age criteria for organ donation is usually 65 years, doctors at Global Hospital allowed a 72-year-old mother to donate her kidney to her daughter. Shilpa Potnis (41), a Borivli resident, was suffering from renal failure and was on dialysis for the past six years.

Shilpa Potnis (left) with her mother Supriya Dighe after the successful kidney transplant
Shilpa Potnis (left) with her mother Supriya Dighe after the successful kidney transplant

A schoolteacher by profession, Shilpa tested positive for diabetes when she was pregnant in 1999. While she was on medication, she developed a blood clot in her right eye and had to undergo retinal surgery. A few months after her operation, she noticed swelling all over her body.

mid-day’s March 3 report on an 85-year-old woman who became the oldest person in the UK to donate a kidney while still alive. She went under the knife to give her ‘spare’ to a stranger after reading about the desperate shortage of donor organs
mid-day’s March 3 report on an 85-year-old woman who became the oldest person in the UK to donate a kidney while still alive. She went under the knife to give her ‘spare’ to a stranger after reading about the desperate shortage of donor organs

When she consulted a nephrologist she found that her creatinine level was double the normal range of 1.5, that gradually went up to 7. She was advised to take dialysis three times a week, that lead to further complications and she was eventually hospitalised.

“A year after I was put on dialysis, doctors suggested that a transplant was my only chance for improvement. The first preference is usually mother, then siblings and then other members of the family,” recalled Shilpa. When her mother, Supriya Dighe learnt about her condition, she immediately agreed to donate her kidney.

Luckily, the former central railway employee had no major ailments, other than hypertension and knee pain that comes with old age. To Shilpa’s surprise, her in-laws also volunteered and supported her in every way possible.

In 2013, the mother-daughter duo underwent a battery of tests, during which doctors found that Supriya showed initial signs of diabetes due to stress. However, it was soon controlled and they underwent the transplant surgery at Global Hospital, Parel on February 20, 2014.

“My mother gave birth to me and now she’s given me rebirth by donating her kidney. When I was told about my renal failure and subsequent dialysis, I had lost all hope of recovering. But I’ve been given a new lease of life because of my family’s, including my in laws, support,” said an emotional Shilpa.

Doctor speaks
Dr Prashant Rajput, Nephrologist

Typically, kidney functioning starts to deteriorate by one per cent every year, after a person reaches the age of 40. At 65, the organ is usually not fit for transplant, and the success rate is minimal. However, in this case, Supriya’s kidney was functioning properly and therefore we agreed to go ahead with the transplant.

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