Ferris ‘definitely turned a corner’ and winning hearts of the nurses . . . Tips on asking for a kidney

It was a Happy Canada Day for the Backmeyer family of Kamloops as Lindsey reported via Facebook on Wednesday that Ferris, her three-year-old daughter, has “definitely turned a corner!”

FerrisJuly1
Ferris wants you to know that her appetite is returning. (Photo: Lindsey Backmeyer/Facebook)

Ferris is in need of a kidney transplant and is on the list, but the process stalled after she developed fungal peritonitis last week. As a result, her parents, Lindsey and Pat, had to take her to B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver. Patients with kidney disease who are doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) fear peritonitis. In this instance, Ferris had to have her catheter removed and has been transitioned to hemodialysis — she began with a three-hour run on Monday. She had been doing PD at home since she was 14 months old.

On Wednesday, Lindsey reported that Ferris’s “pain is less and we haven’t needed morphine since Monday afternoon but are still reliant on regular Tylenol. She slept 12 hours straight (Tuesday) night and I got a solid nine hours . . . it was so so good!”

Ferris’s oxygen levels also have gotten better so she no longer is wearing a monitor.

For now, as Ferris continues the transition to hemo, she is on a diet that restricts fluid and food intake.

“It’s soooo weird for her to be constantly asking for food and actually eating food,” Lindsey wrote. “If anything it confirms my belief that she will go back to being an oral eater once she gets a kidney transplant.”

Lindsey also said they could be looking at “a long time” in Vancouver. In fact, she said, “It could be until transplant.”

Eventually, doctors will try to get Ferris back on PD, but in order for that to happen another catheter will have to be put in place. When might that happen? Lindsey said she was told “three weeks . . . by nephrology; however, urology said three months.”

She added: “We’ve also been told that there is only a 50% success rate of peritoneal dialysis after having a fungal peritonitis. I’m trying not to get too stressed about what that means for our family.”

For now, Lindsey and Pat are staying in Kitsilano, but will move to Ronald McDonald House in about four weeks. Ferris’s older sisters, Ksenia and Tavia, who remained in Kamloops, are expected to visit in the near future.

In the meantime, Ferris spent Monday “eating all the food, colouring and playing Play-Doh!”

And it will bring a smile to your face to hear that “she’s winning the hearts of all the nurses, which of course doesn’t surprise me one little bit!”

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If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:

Living Kidney Donor Program

St. Paul’s Hospital

6A Providence Building

1081 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6

Tel: 604-806-9027

Toll free: 1-877-922-9822

Fax: 604-806-9873

Email: donornurse@providencehealth.bc.ca


It’s official! Nova Scotia will be turning to a system of presumed consent for organ and tissue donation as of Jan. 18. The legislature passed the law in April 2019, and when it takes effect Nova Scotia will be the first province in Canada to go that route. . . . What it means is that if a person is going to have to take steps to opt out if he/she doesn’t want to be an organ donor. . . . “I fully expect that we’re going to have the best donation rates in the country in a few years. That’s my objective,” Dr. Stephen Beed, the medical director of the province’s organ and tissue donation program, told Michael Gorman of CBC News. “I want to be able to provide the best opportunity we can for Nova Scotians by having the best program in the country, and that’s where I want us to be. Now we have the support to do it.” . . . Gorman’s story is right here.




If you haven’t already, prepare to fall in love with Ferris . . . BC Transplant releases statistics from 2019

I have written here before about Ferris Backmeyer, a three-year-old from Kamloops who continues to do peritoneal dialysis as she and her family wait and hope that a kidney transplant is in her future.

If things continue to progress, Ferris’s name will go on the deceased donor list at some point in March.

In the meantime, Jill Sperling of CFJC-TV in Kamloops did a story on Ferris that appeared on Thursday newcasts. It’s all right here. But a few words of warning . . . if you haven’t watched anything on Ferris prior to now be prepared to fall in love.


CBC News posted a story by Carolyn Ray on Wednesday and part of it absolutely blew me away.

“Doctors in Nova Scotia have discovered many families are refusing to allow a loved one in a traumatic situation to donate their organs, even if the patient has signed their donation card,” Ray wrote.

She continued: “Dr. Rob Green, the provincial medical director for Nova Scotia’s trauma program, worked on three studies looking at trauma patients and donation rates between 2009 and 2016. He looked at patients who were identified as potential donors but didn’t donate. He said he was shocked to discover that nearly 50 per cent — 28 out of 60 cases — were because the family refused to go forward.”

Dr. Green told Ray: “I didn’t expect that at all. Some of these patients signed their driver’s licence, saying they wanted to be an organ donor, and their family did not respect their wishes.”

Ray’s complete story is right here.

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Nova Scotia’s organ donation program is called Legacy of Life; its medical director is Dr. Stephen Beed.

Toby Boulet and his wife, Bernadine, lost their son, Logan, in the crash of the Humboldt Broncos’ bus almost two years ago. Logan had registered as an organ donor shortly before the crash, and eight of his organs were harvested. Since then, the Logan Boulet Effect has become a real movement with Toby and Bernadine become advocates for organ donation.

Toby, via Twitter, offered this:

“Dr. Beed was with Logan and our family throughout the most difficult time of our lives. His work in both NS and SK is amazing and families need to support the organ donor wishes of a family member. Families need to TALK — not just register!”

At the same time, the Green Shirt Day account on Twitter added:

“Both Green and Beed want more families to talk openly about their wishes as much as possible. Green said if they make it clear in advance, it helps a family cope during an emotional time.”


KidneyStats

As of Jan. 31, according to BC Transplant, there were 1,523,663 donors registered with the B.C. Organ Donor Registry.

In January 2020, there were 55 organ transplants performed in B.C., with 32 of those involving kidneys — 23 from deceased donors and nine from living donors.

As of Jan. 31, there were 777 people in the province waiting for organ donations with 619 of those needing kidneys.

At the same time, there were 5,221 patients in the province who were being followed post-transplant. All told, 3,500 of those patients have had kidney transplants.

More numbers from 2019, all from BC Transplant:

There were 480 lives saved, down from 502 in 2018.

Surgeons completed 331 kidney transplants, down from 339 in 2018, with 120 involving living donors and 117 from deceased donors.

As well, in 2019 there were 68 liver transplants (77 in 2018), 46 lung transplants (50) and 31 heart transplants (28).

According to BC Transplant, as of Dec. 31, there were 5,182 British Columbians alive because of organ transplants.

BC Transplant has issued a news release detailing all of this and more, and it’s all right here.


Aimee and Kevin Hatcher of Brandon, Man., are determined that their son Luke, who died at the age of 12, will be remembered. With that in mind, they are starting what they call the Green Heart Project. . . . As Riley Laychuk of CBC News writes: “While (Aimee) doesn’t know what her end goal is yet, Hatcher said she envisions a foundation focused on raising awareness about organ donation and supporting families who are faced with tough decisions.” . . . Luke died in December following an accident in the basement of the family’s home. According to Aimee, Luke’s kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas all were transplanted. . . . Laychuk’s story is right here.