by Curlan Campbell
- Dr Bristol–Stanislaus was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in 2012
- Bristol–Stanislaus is Georgetown Public Hospital Complex’s first kidney transplant on a non-Guyanese patient
- Son Gerron Bristol donated a kidney
The leisures of life that we take for granted, like travelling, going to the beach or simply eating local fruits can now be enjoyed by Dr Germain Bristol–Stanislaus for the first time in over 9 years.
This new lease on life follows a successful kidney transplant in Guyana through the Georgetown Public Hospital Complex (GPHC), which conducted its first kidney transplant on a non-Guyanese patient on 14 June 2021.
Dr Germain Bristol–Stanislaus, Assistant to the Medical Director of Grenada’s General Hospital, was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in 2012 while undergoing her clinical rotations in the UK. Her medical condition came as a surprise and could not come at a worse time in her medical career. Even after being diagnosed, the cause of her condition has been classified as idiopathic since the cause of her condition to date has not been determined. ESRD is the last stage (stage 5) of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This means the kidneys were only functioning at 10–15% of their normal capacity. Unfavourable global statistics by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggest that dialysis patients have between 15–20% mortality rate, with a 5-year survival rate of under 50%.
But when all hope was lost, and the possibility of having a normal life appeared bleak, an act of selflessness by her 19-year-old son Gerron Bristol who offered his kidney, has shown that an unbreakable bond between mother and son can be further strengthened.
“My son and I have always had a close relationship since I was a single mother and he volunteered his kidney and was upset that I even asked if he was sure he wanted to do it,” Dr Bristol–Stanislaus said. “Living with end-stage renal disease has been a very difficult time in Grenada. With only one dialysis centre and the constant malfunctioning machine or lack of supplies to provide treatment, I had many missed treatments, hospitalisation with uremia, and had to travel to Trinidad multiple times. I had many problems with dialysis access and had practically run out of options when the possibility of a transplant was discussed. My son volunteered, and we had to send samples to Miami to test and find out if he was a suitable match. The test cost almost US$4,000. It took about 3 weeks to get the results back, stating that he was a match,” she continued.
Following the successful conclusion of a 5-hour medical procedure conducted by Kidney Transplant Surgeon Dr Kishore Persaud and his team, officials including Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony at GPHC’s Resource Centre on Monday provided an update on the outcome. According to Guyana’s Village Voice online publication, Dr Anthony indicated that he was informed of the request for the transplant to be done in Guyana by Dr Persaud. He also received a call from the Minister for Health in Grenada, Nickolas Steele.
Gerron Bristol is doing well, further to a follow-up procedure to remove staples, to ensure the wound healed properly, and repeat blood tests to ensure his kidney is functioning properly.
Dr Bristol–Stanislaus’ recovery journey was met with some slight complications as her body needed time to accept the new kidney. “My blood pressure dropped very low toward the end of the surgery which meant that the newly implanted kidney did not have a great amount of blood flowing to it initially which led to what is called delayed graft function meaning the kidney needed some extra time before it started working. I had to have dialysis while we waited for the kidney to pick up. Also, being on immunosuppressive drugs to prevent rejection Also causes delayed wound healing so my wound had to remain open for an extended period,” she said.
She is still warded at the hospital and is unaware of the duration of her stay. “I am uncertain when I will be discharged as yet but when I am I will initially have to have a constant follow-up about twice weekly, then later once a month. Regular blood tests and ultrasound to monitor graft function.”
Dr Bristol–Stanislaus thanked Dr Persaud and his team and is now looking forward to a speedy recovery. She reflected that she was quite fortunate to receive a kidney transplant in such a quick time. Grenada faces tremendous challenges concerning the cost of dialysis treatments, which can cost upwards of EC$9,000 per month. Bristol–Stanislaus hopes that patients in Grenada receive reliable and affordable services from the hemodialysis unit at the hospital and for healthcare workers to become more knowledgeable about renal disease.