Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland woman defies odds after doctors gave her hours to live

'I had just hours to live when I got a liver transplant ...now I’m in need of a donor who’ll give me a kidney'

Bronagh Murray who survived a liver transplant but now needs a live kidney donor
Bronagh Murray who survived a liver transplant but now needs a live kidney donor
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A Co Londonderry woman who underwent a liver transplant just hours after doctors told her she had less than a day to live is now facing a lifetime of kidney dialysis unless she can find a live donor.

In 2015, Bronagh Murray defied the prognosis of medics who never expected her to survive liver failure even after the 11th hour transplant.

Despite overcoming her enormous health hurdles, however, Bronagh now needs a kidney transplant from a live donor and is appealing to people to come forward for testing.

The Draperstown woman said she accepts she may not be fit for another organ transplant but remains hopeful, and is also appealing on behalf of other people who could be freed from a lifetime of dialysis.

She revealed how, in 2014, she hadn't been feeling well and underwent tests which identified a problem with her liver.

Mrs Murray was sent to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast "where I was told my liver was completely finished but that I was a perfect candidate for a liver transplant, which shocked me completely".

"I had no idea I was as sick as I was," she added.

"I was assessed for a transplant in England and was on the list but taken off again because my weight kept going down, but eventually I got back on by the skin of my teeth because I got my weight up enough.

"But in the New Year of 2015 I collapsed and was rushed to Antrim Hospital where they put me in an induced coma.

"I remember nothing after that until I woke up at the end of February in a hospital in London."

She added: "I was there until March when they told me they thought they had found a match but it turned out not to be suitable so I had to wait - and every day was like a year.

"The consultant came in one day and told me and my husband Brendan that if they didn't get a liver in a matter of hours there was nothing more they could do for me because all of my organs were failing.

"At 3am the following morning a liver was found that matched, so I was taken to theatre for the transplant which I thought would bring me back to normal again - but that didn't happen.

"I took infection after infection so they put me into an induced coma again. I didn't get back to the Royal until the end of April but was still in an induced coma."

Mrs Murray said: "Twice they told my husband to bring my son, who was 10 at the time, up to the hospital because I only had hours to live - but three years later the doctors are still baffled as to how I survived.

"They thought I would be brain damaged and would never walk but I was eventually discharged home after two months of rehabilitation."

One day Mrs Murray told her husband she was "not going to sit here in a wheelchair".

"Thanks to him and his help I eventually made it out of the wheelchair and took it step by step up the hall of our home," she said. "Now I can walk, can drive and can do things they never expected, although I am limited.

"My health isn't back to normal and I have to get kidney dialysis and need a kidney transplant," she said.

"I am not sure if I will ever be strong enough to be suitable for a transplant - my weight is very low at six-and-a-half stone but the way I look at it, I beat the odds against me before and maybe I will do it again.

"Without a transplant from a live donor, I will need kidney dialysis for the rest of my life which is why I am asking people to consider being tested.

"I am not the only person in this position - there are so many across Northern Ireland - so even if I never get a suitable match or am never strong enough to go through a transplant, there are plenty of people on the waiting list that could be freed from a lifetime of dialysis if a suitable donor comes forward."

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