Australian has kidney transplant via robot named Divinci . . . ‘Kidney Priest’ spreading word about organ donation

Tim Sawley has become the first Australian in history to undergo a kidney transplant via robotic surgery. The transplant occurred on Wednesday with his wife, Talitha, his donor. . . . “The state of the art surgical robot, called Divinci, is guided by surgeons,” writes Mike Dalton of, “but allows for the surgeon’s tools to undertake work not humanly possible, including being able to rotate 360 degrees in minute crevasses within the maze of the body’s viscera.” . . . Dalton’s story is right here.

Four years ago, at the age of 15, Kathleen Roberts of Kamloops underwent a kidney transplant, receiving a new kidney from her father. Prior to that day, she was taking 78 pills a day and experiencing kidney failure. She’s 19 now and attending UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna as she works towards a Bachelor of Science in nursing. . . . She also is promoting organ donation. “I know so many people who are on the wait list or have passed away on the wait list,” Roberts told Todd Sullivan of Kamloops This Week. “And, in the future, it’s very possible I’ll have to go on the wait list. It’s so life-altering to get that organ. It just takes a few seconds. Why not save someone’s life?” . . . Sullivan’s story is right here.

Some U.S.-based numbers from a story by Jen Christensen of CNN: There are more than 37 million Americans with kidney disease, but the best guess is that 96 per cent of those people aren’t aware that they have it. . . . Every month, about 8,000 Americans die awaiting an organ transplant. . . . More than 95,000 Americans are on the waiting list in the hopes of getting a new kidney. That list grows by about 3,000 every month. . . . About 100,000 Americans start dialysis each year. . . . One in five donated kidneys end up in the trash. . . . All of these numbers are why the U.S. is moving to change a system that some experts feel is broken. . . . Christensen’s complete story is right here.

Have you heard about the ‘Kidney Priest?’ . . . In 2009, Reverend Father Davis Chiramel, who is from the Indian state of Kerala, donated a kidney to Gopinathan Chakkamadathil. . . . “In the decade since,” writes Yasmin Hingun of the South China Morning Post, “Chiramel has toured India, Europe, America and the Middle East to champion organ donation, whether from living or dead donors.” . . . Chiramel told Hingun: “As a priest, I preach about Jesus sacrificing himself for others, but I have to practice it, too. Ten years ago when Gopinathan could not find a kidney donor, I made the choice to donate my kidney. No thinking about it. I just did it.” . . . Interestingly, surgeons in Hong Kong completed 60 kidney transplants in 2018, but only 30 in 2019. What happened? There aren’t enough donors to meet the demand. . . . Hingun’s complete story is right here.

Roberts loving her new life after transplant . . . Cypress’ new kidney “doing incredibly well” . . .

Have you ever wondered what life is like for a child before and after a kidney transplant?

Kathleen Roberts knows all about it; she’s 19 now and had a transplant four years ago at BC Children’s Hospital.

“Before the transplant,” she says, “I was going to BC Children’s every few months. I was just sick. I slept 16 to 18 hours a day. I had no appetite. I was 82 pounds and five feet tall. I was severely underweight and severely nauseous. The transplant made a huge difference. I have a normal appetite and I’m not sleeping the day away anymore.”

Take a few minutes and read her story, which is right here.

Cypress Roed, an eight-year-old from Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., continues to make progress after undergoing a kidney transplant on Oct. 24 at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Her mother, Chantelle Deley, told me in an email earlier this week that “Cypress is doing well for the most part. She is finally in remission!”

Early on, Cypress had been diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, something that damages the kidneys and prevents the filtering of protein from the urine.

The recovery process hasn’t been without a speed bump or two, the latest of which has been having to deal with migraines. Cypress was back in hospital late last week because the migraines were causing severe nausea.

But, as Chantelle wrote,“she is in remission and that’s a major positive.”

It’s important to note that the new kidney “is doing incredibly well.”

“She is amazingly strong,” Chantelle said of her daughter.

Dorothy, my wife, had some health issues six weeks or so after her transplant and spent most of December 2013 in hospital dealing with them. But, as with Cypress, the new kidney just kept doing its job. Hopefully, that continues with Cypress, who is preparing to spend her third straight Christmas away from home.

Cypress is to turn nine on Jan. 22. Her dream has been to celebrate by going swimming. Here’s hoping she is able to make a big splash.

This was posted on a blog called Andrew Kai’s Adventure in Liverland. It was written by his mother:

“I wrote this in the waiting room after Kai coded. They brought him back 3 times before rushing him to the operating room. The plan was to open him up and remove the bad liver to buy him some time. The new liver was only 4 hours away. He had held on at the top of the list for 2 days. He was first in line for a liver and didn’t get one in time.

“I really believed he would make it. I pushed all the doubts out. I kept saying this over and over to myself, I knew my baby was strong and I had to believe for him.”

The post included a photo of a note on which was written:

“Pieces of me are in you

“Pieces of you are in me

“I am here

“You are here

“Kai will live!!!!”

Below the note was a small stone with a heart etched into it.

Kai’s mother continued:

“The heart stone is what they gave to me, and one to him, so that we would have something to connect us when I had to say goodbye the last time. I placed it over his heart and I haven’t put my stone down since I left him.

“HE WOULD HAVE LIVED IF HE HAD A NEW LIVER. Even if it had been just a few hours earlier.


Andrew Kai George was born on April 23, 2019. Without a new liver, he died on Dec. 2, 2019, in Indianapolis, Ind.

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