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Mothers dilemma: which son should I save? (two sons, each needs one of her kidneys)
The Scotsman ^ | 12/6/04 | ALISON HARDIE

Posted on 12/06/2004 12:33:05 PM PST by dead

MELANIE Campbell is locked in a dilemma every mother would dread - she can save the life of one of her seriously ill sons but the other would face death.

Today she has said she cannot make that choice and that could mean both will die.

Luke and Ashley Campbell, both 14, who were born with their triplet sister Sinead, both suffer from cysts on their kidneys - a condition that will become fatal without a transplant.

Their mother is a perfect tissue match for both boys, but can only donate one of her kidneys and is facing choosing one over the other.

Their plight has again highlighted the chronic shortage of transplant organs available to seriously ill patients in Britain.

It will also increase pressure on the government to overhaul the law after attempts at both Holyrood and Westminster to introduce a system of "presumed consent" were thrown out by Labour ministers.

Mrs Campbell, 35, of Newport, South Wales, said last night the boys’ illness had put her under an almost intolerable strain, especially once she learned she was a perfect tissue match for both.

She had hoped that she and her husband Steve, a 36-year-old army sergeant, could both help the boys by donating one kidney each.

However, she was horrified to find that only she shared the same blood group and tissue type as Luke and Ashley.

Mrs Campbell summed up her dilemma: "What would I have to do - toss a coin?"

She went on: "I think about it all the time. I would give up my life for my children but there’s only one of me and two of them.

"I couldn’t give a kidney to one and leave the other. I love my boys so much. I’d do anything to protect them. It would be easy if there were just one, but I can’t save them both and I just cannot choose one.

"I wouldn’t want one of them to grow up and ask: ‘Why did you choose him instead of me?’"

Luke and Ashley were diagnosed with the hereditary condition - familial juvenile nephrophthisis. Both Mr and Mrs Campbell carry the gene which affects boys, however their triplet sister Sinead is not affected.

The boys, who must undergo dialysis treatment eight hours a day, six days a week, have been waiting 20 months for suitable organs to become available.

Although they are facing their medical treatment bravely, the family has had to accept that time is running out to find a donor to help them.

Mrs Campbell, yesterday described the moment when the family was told of the illness affecting both boys.

She said: "I was absolutely devastated. I can remember going into a room and I just wanted to punch somebody. I felt so angry.

"Steven and I both carry the gene, but we did not know it.

"We’d never even heard of this thing before - but it has had a huge effect on our lives.

"Luke and Ashley have been very brave. They don’t complain but they are going through it.

"They are very close and which ever one goes first for the transplant, the other will be supporting him all the way."

The Campbells were told early last year by the consultants at Bristol Children’s Hospital caring for Luke and Ashley that a transplant was the only option if the youngsters were to lead a normal, healthy life.

Mrs Campbell said children normally get a new kidney within four to six months but Luke and Ashley have waited longer because of their rare tissue.

Since the boys were born the family has lived in Hong Kong and Germany, where their father was based.

When they returned to Britain and lived in Oxfordshire it became clear the boys were not growing as quickly as Sinead and doctors did blood tests.

Mrs Campbell said: "It was then that doctors found an abnormality in their kidney function.

"The condition has worsened in the last few years and they get tired very easily."

But the two boys, who go to Bassaleg Comprehensive in Newport, are typical teenagers who play computer games and go swimming - although they are not allowed to play their favourite sport, rugby.

Mrs Campbell, who carries a pager in case a kidney becomes available, admitted the situation dominates their lives.

She said: "We are on call round the clock. Even if we go out for the evening one of us doesn’t drink just in case. We could get a call at any time of day or night."

Mrs Campbell criticised the transplant system in Britain where people have to carry a donor card if they want their organs to be used after death.

Even if a consent card has been signed, families can withhold consent.

She said she supports the campaign to adopt an "opt-out" scheme where people have to declare they do not want their organs used.

Her efforts to help her sons have also included fund raising for research charities and next year she plans to run a half marathon to raise funds for the National Kidney Research Fund.

She also raised more than £1,200 in Germany with a parachute jump, while two years ago she and sister, Julia, abseiled down a 12-storey hospital building.

Now Mrs Campbell has said she cannot possibly choose between her sons and will not make a choice now but, despite the already long wait for a suitable other donor, hopes she will not have to.

"When a kidney becomes available the doctors will decide which of the boys needs it most urgently.

"Then, all being well, I will give one of my kidneys to the other twin. It is the only way we can do it - if the decision was left to me it would be impossible."

Bill O’Neill, the Scottish secretary, of the British Medical Association, said the Campbell case underlined the need for reform of the law.

He said: "Clearly this is a devastatingly sad example of a dilemma that is created when there are insufficient organs for transplantation. There needs to be a change to a system of presumed consent to reverse the chronic shortage of transplant organs in Britain."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
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1 posted on 12/06/2004 12:33:05 PM PST by dead
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To: dead

Can the boys blood systems be linked like in a transfusion situation and let ones kidney do the work for both boys until a donor can be found?......


2 posted on 12/06/2004 12:35:51 PM PST by Red Badger (If the Red States are JESUSLAND, then the Blue States are SATANLAND......)
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To: dead
One boy named Ashley?

She already killed him in a way.

Seriously though, She should give up both, but a doctor probably wouldn't allow that.

3 posted on 12/06/2004 12:38:28 PM PST by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: dead

Presumed consent = "once you're dead, the state has the rights to you. Your family shall have no say."


I'm sorry she's in this position, but life is hard sometimes. No one should be forced into a situation they don't approve of, just so this woman can resolve her dilemma.


4 posted on 12/06/2004 12:38:41 PM PST by Little Pig (Is it time for "Cowboys and Muslims" yet?)
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To: dead

Ghastly situation. Even I draw the line at an "opt-out" system where one must carry a card DENYING the use of one's organs. I'm sure quite a few of us have read some of Thomas Sowell's opinions that (gasp) "privatizing" i.e. entering dirty old money motive into the equation is the solution to the problem. Expecting enough people to play altruist just doesn't wash in the real world.


5 posted on 12/06/2004 12:40:08 PM PST by sinanju
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To: dead

what about the sister?isn't she the same type?


6 posted on 12/06/2004 12:40:39 PM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it with something for you))
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To: camle
I guess not. They are obviously not identical triplets, so she wouldn't necessarily be a good match.

Besides, I don't think they take organ donations from 14 year-olds, no matter how willing they may be.

7 posted on 12/06/2004 12:42:50 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: dead

Prayers are in order right about now.


8 posted on 12/06/2004 12:44:38 PM PST by KoneZone (Thy will be done.!)
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To: MoralSense; Mjaye

9 posted on 12/06/2004 12:47:08 PM PST by Born Conservative (Entertainment is a thing of the past, today we've got television - Archie Bunker)
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To: dead

Her dilema... I would give up my life for my children but there’s only one of me and two of them.


"I couldn’t give a kidney to one and leave the other. I love my boys so much. I’d do anything to protect them. It would be easy if there were just one, but I can’t save them both and I just cannot choose one.


These statements are contradictory.


Pray for God's will and guidance.Say your farewells to both,donate to one and pray that God provides a match for the other and keep them alive on dialisys(sic)until a match is found.


10 posted on 12/06/2004 12:47:49 PM PST by loboinok (GUN CONTROL IS HITTING WHAT YOU AIM AT.)
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To: dead

There was a story iu the NY Posy earlier this month..abouut their NY HEROES..one was a NYPD sgt..she donated a kidney to a perfect stranger she'd read about in her church bulletin..the blood type of these kids must be very rare..normally a match for kidneys isn't that difficult..


11 posted on 12/06/2004 12:48:09 PM PST by ken5050
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To: camle

I was thinking the same thing. Not a word about her compatibility in the article.


12 posted on 12/06/2004 12:49:32 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: tallhappy

"Seriously though, She should give up both"

And after she dies, her kidneys are rejected by the twins and everyone dies huh? No, you don't kill one person in order to POSSIBLY save another. No doctor would do it because it is stupid.


13 posted on 12/06/2004 12:56:21 PM PST by monday
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To: ken5050
There was a story iu the NY Posy earlier this month..abouut their NY HEROES..one was a NYPD sgt..she donated a kidney to a perfect stranger she'd read about in her church bulletin..the blood type of these kids must be very rare..normally a match for kidneys isn't that difficult..

Another option, The mother could donate 2 of hers and get a transplant if the boys had bad matches. Not the best, but as a parent I would go that route....if needed.

14 posted on 12/06/2004 12:56:43 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: tallhappy
**One boy named Ashley? She already killed him in a way. **

Ashley is actually a common male name in Scotland. Other historical male names are Leslie(y) and Shirley.

15 posted on 12/06/2004 12:58:30 PM PST by mrs tiggywinkle
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To: tallhappy
Seriously though, She should give up both, but a doctor probably wouldn't allow that.

Dr. wouldn't have much choice if she committed suicide in the hospital. I wonder if I would have the strength to really consider this option to save my children.
16 posted on 12/06/2004 1:00:44 PM PST by wmichgrad ("We must find a way to help the liberals!" Sean Hannity November 9, 2004)
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To: dead

Let the boys decide.


17 posted on 12/06/2004 1:00:49 PM PST by UseYourHead (Smith & Wesson: The original point-and-click interface)
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To: ken5050

It's not unusual at all for people needing transplants to be very difficult matches. Polycistic types, as I understand, are often difficult. And I believe there is sometimes some complication among black people, too.


18 posted on 12/06/2004 1:04:09 PM PST by MoralSense
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To: dead

WHAT ABOUT THE FATHER?


19 posted on 12/06/2004 1:04:55 PM PST by cfhBAMA (Alabama Republican Party)
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To: dead

If only we had National Health Care, this sort of thing wouldn't happen! Everyone would be required to grow three kidneys!


20 posted on 12/06/2004 1:06:40 PM PST by pabianice
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To: tallhappy

Thats immediatey what I thought as I read thgis article, I would give them both up. Then hook me up until one can be found for me, if one is not found for me, I'm outta here, but at least I know my children have a chance at a happy somewhat healthy life.


21 posted on 12/06/2004 1:07:08 PM PST by Delbert
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To: MoralSense

Thanks for the info.. I didn't mean to make light of the problem..what I was trying to say is that I believe statistically it's far easier to get a kidney than any other organ..for obvious reasons..


22 posted on 12/06/2004 1:09:22 PM PST by ken5050
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To: cfhBAMA
WHAT ABOUT THE FATHER?

Read the article...

23 posted on 12/06/2004 1:11:49 PM PST by Ichneumon
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To: cfhBAMA

"She had hoped that she and her husband Steve, a 36-year-old army sergeant, could both help the boys by donating one kidney each.

However, she was horrified to find that only she shared the same blood group and tissue type as Luke and Ashley."

Prayers up!


24 posted on 12/06/2004 1:12:01 PM PST by SwinneySwitch (W 1)
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To: cfhBAMA
WHAT ABOUT THE FATHER?

From the posted article:

She had hoped that she and her husband Steve, a 36-year-old army sergeant, could both help the boys by donating one kidney each. However, she was horrified to find that only she shared the same blood group and tissue type as Luke and Ashley.

25 posted on 12/06/2004 1:13:10 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: UseYourHead
Let the boys decide.

My thoughts exactly. I would hope that they understand the situation and are old enough to participate in any decision.

In any case, it is a sad situation all around.

26 posted on 12/06/2004 1:15:12 PM PST by Recovering Hermit
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To: dead

I don't know what I would do either. I think I'd have the boys flip a coin and choose heads or tails and the one with heads would win. Then I'd be praying 24/7 that another donor would be found.


27 posted on 12/06/2004 1:18:50 PM PST by tiki (Won one against the Flipper)
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To: fritzz

why solve the problem when you can use it to further your political agenda. the people involved don't really matter as loong as they can be used for your ends. /sarcasm


28 posted on 12/06/2004 1:22:43 PM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it with something for you))
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To: Recovering Hermit
In any case, it is a sad situation all around.

I wouldn't want to face that situation myself - it's a hard place to put anyone.

29 posted on 12/06/2004 1:24:40 PM PST by UseYourHead (Smith & Wesson: The original point-and-click interface)
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To: mrs tiggywinkle

>Ashley is actually a common male name in Scotland. Other >historical male names are Leslie(y) and Shirley.

As is Shannon.

And might I remind our readers that a main character in Gone with the Wind was named Ashley.


30 posted on 12/06/2004 1:25:03 PM PST by sandbar
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To: camle

Do You think there's some of that going on here? She did say that she would do anything to save the boys. I know people in my family who would trade their lives for their kids. I believe I would.


31 posted on 12/06/2004 1:26:54 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: fritzz

yes, not by the family but by those behind the scenes. ever see the kirk douglas movie about the guy trapped in a mine. IIRC it was called "the circus"?


32 posted on 12/06/2004 1:29:38 PM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it with something for you))
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To: fritzz

"Sophie's Choice" drove her mad, if I recall the movie correctly...


33 posted on 12/06/2004 1:38:46 PM PST by hunter112 (Total victory, both in the USA and the Middle East!)
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To: camle
The Circus, I'll watch for it. It seem any occurrence of a misfortune is used by someone to push their agenda
34 posted on 12/06/2004 1:40:39 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: dead
Having first hand experience with this, the situation is unfortunate for the mother. However, it is fortunate for one of the boys. That said, I think the doctors need to recommend which boy is the best candidate and provide that information to the mother, even if the doctors "create" or "invent" a situation where one boy is a better candidate. This would remove the burden of the mother having to decide between the boys.
35 posted on 12/06/2004 1:41:22 PM PST by leadpencil1 (google "al-Taqiyya")
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To: hunter112

Got it.


36 posted on 12/06/2004 1:42:06 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: UseYourHead
Let the boys decide.

"Show of hands… OK. That’s one vote for Luke and one vote for Ashley."

37 posted on 12/06/2004 1:44:55 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: fritzz

IIRC Kirk Douglas was an ace reporter down on his luck. he was lucky to get a job in some hick paper out in the midwest somewhere. he got a lucky career break when news reached him about a mantrapped in a cavein in a local mine. He knew a gold mine when he saw it.

By his careful questions and leading commetns, he managed to turn a simple rescue into a week long circuis complete with tourist trappings, a ferris wheel, food booths, etc. as people came from all over to watch the rescue effort continue. Meanwhile KD's star kept on a-rising. he was getting all kinds of offers to come to NYC and write, etc..

The trapped miner? he died of exposure.


38 posted on 12/06/2004 1:45:59 PM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it with something for you))
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To: loboinok

Before you go judging the mother, you have to realize that no doctor is going to take both of anyone's kidneys unless they are dead. :/


39 posted on 12/06/2004 1:48:59 PM PST by Constantine XIII
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To: camle
Thank you, obviously I was lost and you came to the rescue

It would be interesting to follow this thing to conclusion.

40 posted on 12/06/2004 1:54:57 PM PST by fritzz (Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers)
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To: dead

A truly heartbreaking position for a parent to be in. However, the mother is making contradictory statements about how it would be easy to save one of one, but impossible to save one of two. Were I in such a postion, you can be damn certain I would chose one or the other. To let both die because you can't save both is wrong.

The solution to the scarcity of organs is to allow people to sell them. It is ironic that the people most likely to oppose such a system are the same one that laud the sanctity of one's body when the issue is abortion.


41 posted on 12/06/2004 1:55:46 PM PST by Yancey Ward
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To: fritzz

no prob, we wouldn't even know about this if it didn't fit someone's agenda.


42 posted on 12/06/2004 1:56:17 PM PST by camle (keep your mind open and somebody will fill it with something for you))
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To: dead
It will also increase pressure on the government to overhaul the law after attempts at both Holyrood and Westminster to introduce a system of "presumed consent" were thrown out by Labour ministers.

This is the real meaning of this piece, the dilemma faced by those who think that the state has an obligation to order not just the lives of their subjects but their deaths and disposal as well.

The writer follows the standard line of introducing the reader to a very sympathetic person, fleshes out this poster person and then slams home the sword of guilt.

The method seemingly works for it is used to justify criminal acts by thugs as well as members of state from the punishment of ordinary people for acts of defense to the reward offered for reporting those few sane who still object.

The poor woman illustrated here cannot possibly make such a decision without harm but sickness is never fair.

43 posted on 12/06/2004 2:06:12 PM PST by Old Professer (The accidental trumps the purposeful in every endeavor attended by the incompetent.)
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To: Constantine XIII

Sorry...you misunderstood.I am not critisizing the mother.I made a observation of her statement,saying she would sacrifice herself and immediately contradicting it.
I sympathize with her.I just think there is more recourse than this article would have you think.


44 posted on 12/06/2004 2:13:03 PM PST by loboinok (GUN CONTROL IS HITTING WHAT YOU AIM AT.)
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To: monday

She can give up both of her kidney's and go on dialysis and wait for a donor for herself. Dialysis works quite well. I have firsthand experience.


45 posted on 12/06/2004 2:35:00 PM PST by Shellback Chuck (Hey John, whose your daddy?)
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To: dead

This is a horrendous predicament, butr consider: If their kidneys are so difficult to match, isn't it likely that at some point a single kidney might become available from some other donor? How do they decide who gets it in that case? Isn't it the same decision? Would she turn it down because it would only save one of the boys?


46 posted on 12/06/2004 2:39:47 PM PST by TexasKamaAina
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To: Shellback Chuck
Why do that though? Is she more capable of being on dialysis than her sons? Who is going to pay for the extra operation and why in the world would anyone think that three people having kidney transplants would be better than only having two people having kidney transplants?

The idea that she should harm her health for no discernible advantage for her sons strikes me as absurd. If she really wants to get on with it, have her sons play a game of rock, scissors, paper for her spare kidney. Then she won't have to decide.
47 posted on 12/06/2004 2:55:33 PM PST by monday
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To: fritzz; camle

The movie is called "The Big Carnival" with an alternate title of "Ace in the Hole."


48 posted on 12/06/2004 3:00:31 PM PST by EllaMinnow (For the first time in over 20 years, I'm not represented by Bob Graham! Go MEL!! Viva Bush!)
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Comment #49 Removed by Moderator

Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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