Defying the Odds – Shaila’s Story

July 30, 2015 0 comments

Dr Shaila Kabir uprooted her life when she came to South Australia’s Renal Transplant UNIT (SARTU) to receive a kidney from her husband Mohammed Islam despite the incompatibility of his blood type.

Married in their home country of Bangladesh, Shaila and Mohammed moved to Sydney soon after to pursue further study and career opportunities.

Shaila Kidney Transplant Recipient with daughter and husband.
“I would do anything for my wife” – Shaila’s husband Mohammed, donated one of his kidneys to save her.

Kidney at just 10% function

Years later, suffering from foot cramps and severe tiredness, Shaila visited her local doctor who discovered her kidney was only functioning at 10 per cent.

“I was told I would need to be on dialysis within a year,” Shaila said.

A transplant was inevitable for Shaila who was put on dialysis three times a week.

An additional hurdle

As the couple were in the process of obtaining their Australian citizenship, a kidney transplant could only come from someone they knew personally.

“As we weren’t Australian citizens yet we couldn’t go through the health care system so we had to find our own donor,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed was not a direct match, but after returning to Bangladesh and having no luck finding a suitable donor there, the couple opted for an incompatible kidney transplant.

“I would do anything for my wife,” Mohammed said.

The couple were transferred to Professor Toby Coates and his team at the SARTU who specialised in blood group incompatible kidney transplants not yet available in Sydney.

Conducted at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH), this process involved the removal of blood group antibodies from Shaila’s blood to ensure she would successfully receive the kidney from her husband.

Shaila kidney transplant patient
“We weren’t Australian citizens yet so we couldn’t go through the health care system – we had to find our own donor.”

Success against the odds

The transplant was a noteworthy achievement as Shaila possessed significantly high levels of blood group antibodies and Mohammed had a rare blood type, being A positive with Type 2 Antigens.

After weeks of treatment

Shaila’s level of antibodies were deemed low enough and the transplant was completed successfully.

“We can’t actually put into words how happy we were. I would do anything to help others going through the same thing as I went through,” Mohammed said.

“We are so very thankful to Professor Coates.”

“The doctors in Adelaide are the best in Australia, and the world”

A special gift

Having already defied the odds, Shaila made further history when she became the first woman to give birth after receiving an incompatible kidney. Shaila and Mohammed welcomed their daughter Manha in July 2012.

Now six years on from her transplant, Shaila continues to have regular check-ups and remains healthy and active with her young family.

Shaila Kidney Transplant Recipient on the beach
Shaila became the first woman to give birth after receiving an incompatible kidney, welcoming their daughter Manha in July 2012.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Return to Personal Stories