Royal free father and son surgeons perform kidney op on same woman 34 years apart

A mother is celebrating her second successful kidney transplant, skilfully performed by the son of the surgeon who carried out her first lifesaving surgery more than 30 years ago.

In 1977, Yvette Phillips was one of the youngest ever children to have a kidney transplant. Aged just 10, she suffered renal failure and was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital where consultant Ossie Fernando performed the ground-breaking surgery that brought her back to health.

The kidney he gave her that day has lasted over three decades but Mrs Phillips, now 45, fell ill again and needed a second transplant.

Luckily Ossie’s son Bimbi was at hand at the Royal Free to perform the second operation and history was repeated.

“I call Bimbi the gentle giant because he is twice the size of his father,” Ms Phillips said. “I was over the moon when I realised he would perform the surgery. I saw him personally and he promised that he would be involved. Other doctors are lovely and clever – but they were anonymous surgeons – there is a connection with Ossie and Bimbi.”


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Mrs Phillips received her second kidney after taking part in an innovative “three-way” transplant.

It involved three couples whose partners were not compatible donors for their loved ones.

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Mrs Phillips’s husband Alan donated his kidney to someone he never met. That person’s partner donated a healthy kidney to someone else whose partner then donated a kidney to Mrs Phillips. The solution – which involved three simultaneous transplants in three hospitals – has only been possible since a change in the law in 2006.

Mrs Phillips said: “I want this kidney to last – I emailed Bimbi today and said let’s see if we can get even more years out of this one. Your father’s lasted 34 years – let’s see if this one can last 44!”

Mrs Phillips, who now has a 10-year-old daughter – the same age as she was when she had her first surgery – has remained in touch with Ossie, now 76, and his family over the years.

Ossie said he was very proud to be putting Ms Phillips’ second transplant in the hands of his surgeon son. He said: “I’ve kept in close touch with the family. She was one of the youngest patients I had ever treated.

“I am happy that my son seems to have inherited that ethos from me – he loves his job and he loves the patients he deals with.”

Bimbi Fernando, who lives in Muswell Hill, added: “Yvette’s story shows how having a kidney transplant enables you to lead a normal life and even if your kidney fails, you can have another.”

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