Ted Dodd, 26 and from Ely, received a life-changing kidney transplant in May 2020 at the height of the pandemic. He is now working for the ambulance service. (Image: Cambridge News)

“With Covid having such a big impact on the hospitals, I was convinced I wasn’t getting a transplant.”

Fortunately Ted Dodd’s fears proved unfounded and he became one of nearly 400 people in the East of England who received life saving transplants last year despite challenges caused by coronavirus.

The 26-year-old from Ely was born with birth defects which left him with only one kidney and an undiagnosed heart problem, which eventually required a kidney transplant aged 12.

After more than a decade of good health, which included training for a career in the ambulance service, his health deteriorated in 2019 and he was once again placed on the waiting list for another kidney transplant.

“I had to contend with Christmas on dialysis,” said Ted, who admitted that he had been “down in the dumps” during the procedure which gets rid of waste products from the body in the absence of kidneys.

“Then Covid hit in the new year. My partner, Archie and a few family members wanted to donate a kidney to me but Covid slowed the process.

“At dialysis, I’d started to get into a routine and always took someone with me – to play board games or just for the chat. Then due to the Covid rules I had to start going alone. It was horrible. I felt so dejected.

After nearly accepting this may not happen for years, he was called out of the blue while on dialysis by the transplant team at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and despite logistical challenges on how to enter the hospital safely, his operation went ahead in May 2020.

“It was completely surreal. The hospital was so quiet, the corridors were like a ghost town and all the staff were in top-to-toe PPE. The staff were truly amazing. They made me feel safe and I was home after just a week in hospital,” Ted said.

“In the end I became nervous of the outside world having been made to feel so secure in the hospital. My mum and I spent weeks just focusing on my recovery while my dad, who works away, stayed away.

Ted had to attend dialysis sessions alone.
(Image: Cambridge News)

“I gradually started seeing more people and getting out. A couple of months after the op I walked eight miles with my best friend. Before my transplant I struggled to climb the stairs at home without stopping for a breath. That was the immediate difference it made to my life.

“I feel the best I ever have. I had the trip of a lifetime driving around Scotland, have moved into my new home and am now back working on emergency ambulances,” he added.

Ted’s story comes as the NHS announced 3,391 had their lives saved by transplants over the past year, with 389 of those coming in the East of England thanks to 1,180 people nationally donating organs after their death.

Although the numbers of people on the active waiting list transplants in the East had fallen to 260 by the end of March 2021, NHS bosses say this does not accurately affect the numbers of people still needing surgery.

John Forsythe, medical director of organ and tissue donation and transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Our commitment is nothing compared with donors and their families – the gift of life has been donated by 145 people in the East of England in the midst of a tragedy made even more difficult by Covid restrictions.

“However incredible this achievement, we mustn’t forget that there are still thousands of people in need of lifesaving organ transplants and we are doing our utmost to work with clinical teams and donor families to try and close the gap between those receiving a transplant and those still waiting,” he added.

Transplant News Sharing // “Kidney Transplants” – Google News from Source www.cambridge-news.co.uk

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