Health

A gift from an overseas Vietnamese mother to her son


Ho Chi Minh CityMs. Pham Lan Anh, 64 years old, found all ways to return to Vietnam from the US in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic to donate a kidney transplant to her son.

At the end of 2017, Mr. Lam Quang Khoi, 39 years old, suddenly his eyes gradually faded, the doctor diagnosed retinal hemorrhage, indicated surgery. Examining before surgery, the doctors found that his heart was beating sluggishly, and advised him to see a cardiologist. At Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital, Khoi was shocked when the doctor informed him that he had chronic diabetes, complications of end-stage renal failure, second-degree heart failure.

In a month, Khoi lost 12 kg of weight. Medications do not improve organ failure. He has to undergo hemodialysis three times a week to maintain his life. After a year of dialysis, he quit his job due to poor health.

Hemodialysis cannot help Khoi recover from the disease, but only partially replaces kidney function, filtering out toxins. If he maintains this method, he will live dependent on machines for the rest of his life, his health will decline faster due to dangerous complications, such as heart disease, low blood pressure, blood loss. Meanwhile, due to chronic diabetes, many blood vessels, especially the blood vessels of Khoi’s kidneys, were atherosclerotic and narrow, very easily blocked.

The doctor advised that the only way to cure Khoi’s disease was a kidney transplant. If a compatible kidney is found and the transplant is successful, he will return to a near-normal life. In particular, he can give birth – something that is almost impossible with hemodialysis. Khoi still has to take anti-rejection drugs for life, adhere to a healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid infections and infections, and keep the transplanted kidney working for a long time.

Pham Lan Anh – Khoi’s mother – is in the US and wants to donate a kidney to her son. She takes good care of her health while waiting for the time to give her son a kidney. She is in good shape, trying to maintain sports, playing tennis and swimming, regularly going to the hospital to check kidney function. Khoi disagreed, because the family only had two children, his father died early, his mother was old and lived and worked alone in the US. “I have not been able to repay my mother yet, but I ask for more, if she has any fate, I will regret it very much,” Mr. Khoi said.

He and his wife plan to sign up for a waiting list for organs from a brain-dead donor. Khoi’s wife also wants to get tested to donate a kidney to her husband. They were all stopped by their mother. Lan Anh is determined to donate a kidney to her son.

At the end of 2019, she returned to Vietnam and met with doctor Huynh Ngoc Phuong Thao, Head of the Department of Internal Medicine – Artificial Kidney – the main treatment for Mr. Khoi, and suggested donating a kidney. At first, the doctor was confused because Ms. Lan Anh was 61 years old at that time, but the kidney test results showed that they were completely compatible, with good glomerular filtration rate, reaching 95%, which was very suitable for Khoi’s transplant. . At this time, Ho Chi Minh City University of Medicine and Pharmacy Hospital has not been licensed by the Ministry of Health for kidney transplant surgery, the surgery is scheduled to March 2020.

However, Lan Anh’s kidney donation journey to save her child took more than a year longer than expected. In February 2020, Covid-19 broke out around the world, the commercial flight from the US to Vietnam was delayed, the mother could not return to Vietnam. Finally, when there were flights to bring overseas citizens back home, she applied to regain her Vietnamese nationality (still retaining her US citizenship), and returned to Ho Chi Minh City in April 2021.

Lan Anh adheres to 5K, keeping absolutely safe so as not to infect Covid-19. During the first month of returning home, including 14 days of concentrated isolation at a hotel and 14 days of self-isolation at home, she had almost no contact with anyone but her daughter-in-law and son. Her tests were negative for Covid-19.

Pre-operative consultation, Professor Tran Ngoc Sinh – the main surgeon, said that “cannot guarantee 100% success”, because a segment of Khoi’s renal blood vessel is too atheroma, it is possible that the kidney is transplanted into the kidney. cannot function. Doctors predict that Khoi’s post-surgery process will be difficult and take several times longer than normal cases. The worst-case scenario, which is a very small percentage, is the transplanted kidney failing to work in the new body. Thus, the gift his mother gave him became meaningless. Khoi will have to continue hemodialysis.

The mother still decided to conduct the donation – kidney transplant for her child. She thinks that if she waits longer, Khoi’s blood vessels will be damaged more severely, and kidney dialysis will not be successful, considered incurable.

“Any mother in my situation would do the same. For parents, my own gain and loss is nothing, I just try to do everything for my children to live a normal life, to be the father of their children. my grandson,” shared Lan Anh.

Mr. Khoi and his mother in the first breakfast at home after the surgery – kidney transplant. Photo: Characters provided

The outcome of the surgery was as expected. In the first 10 days after surgery, Khoi lived on dialysis, the transplanted kidney did not work. Doctors had to place a stent to dilate the narrow blood vessel, continue hemodialysis, and use a variety of drugs to restore kidney function. On the 11th day, the kidney function returned to normal, the kidneys began to produce urine. More than a month later, Khoi was finally reunited with his mother and wife. Ms. Lan Anh recovered faster, on the 3rd day after the surgery, she could walk normally and was discharged from the hospital.

Currently, 10 months after the kidney transplant, both mother and child’s health is stable. The mother returned to the US to continue working; Mr. Khoi plans to return to work next year and is planning to have a baby.

“Thank you, mother of the sea, no matter what you say, I will live up to my mother’s sacrifice,” Mr. Khoi said.

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