“I did it for the love of my wife”: Kidney transplant after 30 years on dialysis

Marichel Aguila and Senthil Kumarathevan

Marichel Aguila and Senthil Kumarathevan - Credit: Royal Free

A patient at the Royal Free hospital has paid tribute to his wife for persuading him to have a kidney transplant.

Senthil Kumarathevan had been undergoing dialysis for 30 years before making the decision to have the life changing surgery. 

The 49-year-old said: “Ultimately I did it for the love of my wife. It was a decision I was willing to make, as I was no longer existing for just myself, it was no longer my own journey. I had firsthand experience of her worrying and suffering.”

Senthil was born with a defect which caused recurrent infections, but for many years he did not feel the need to have a transplant.

He played football and cricket, stuck to a vegetarian diet and didn’t drink or smoke.

"I did start struggling with mobility and was having difficulty working but was initiated into a yoga practice by a Kriya yoga master," he said. 

"Within three months of practising meditation I had reversed the problems. This was a major factor in me deciding not to go for a transplant, as I began detaching to some extent from my body and mind and my personal belief was about facing my own karma. During the dialysis sessions I just carried on working on a laptop. I was on the list for a transplant a couple of times but never went through with it.”

Most Read

It was when Senthil began experiencing numbness caused by nerve damage that his wife, a dialysis nurse, persuaded him it was the right choice. 

Marichel, 48, said it was Senthil’s decision but added: "Working as a dialysis nurse I knew that being on dialysis long term would eventually lead to health problems like poor circulation.”

Senthil thanked his team at the Royal Free, adding: “I want to pay tribute to my surgeon, Fiona McCaig for carrying out what was a complicated surgery.. plus Ammar Al Midani, the transplant surgeon who looked after me in clinic every week.

“I’d also like to thank all the nurses, doctors and staff at the Mary Rankin dialysis satellite unit and the Edgware dialysis satellite unit.”

Dr Al Midani said Senthil’s story gives hope that others will consider a transplant: “Senthil’s case shows that whatever your belief system and however long you have held those beliefs there is still room for listening, discussion and ultimately even a change of heart.”