19 February 2019

Caleb on course to get his life-saving kidney transplant

| Ian Bushnell
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Caleb Browning and his mother Leanne. Photo: George Tsotsos.

Young Caleb Browning is on course to receive a life-saving kidney next month after the Region Media brought attention to his predicament in January.

Caleb, 17, of Palmerston, has only one failing kidney, autism and ADHD, and had been told by doctors last Christmas Eve that he only had a few months to live, without dialysis and an eventual transplant. But he did not fit the criteria for dialysis because he could not sit still enough and sedation would further damage his kidney, and without dialysis, he could not be put on the transplant list.

After advice from a friend, his desperate mother Leanne approached the RiotACT with nothing to lose, and says the turnaround is unbelievable.

On the day the story was published, doctors at Canberra Hospital told her the case had been reassessed and they were recommending a transplant without having to undergo dialysis, which Leanne believes is a first.

They were sent to Westmead Hospital in Sydney for tests, which extended into a second day.

A dental examination will check that he doesn’t have any infections that could carry to the kidney when it is transplanted.

He will then be placed at the top of the list and go to Sydney for the transplant in about a month.

“It’s a big relief. I just can’t believe that it could have been turned around like that,” she said.

She said Caleb was very excited. “He’s telling everyone that he’s getting a new kidney,” she said.

But his condition continues to deteriorate, with fatigue increasing and mood swings worsening.

Leanne is aware he is not out of the woods yet and the risks have been explained to her – that the transplant might not take, tissue could die and the need for medication afterward.

“I’m really pleased at least we’re getting a chance,” she said. “Without the RiotACT‘s help, I wouldn’t have changed any minds at all. But they seem to think it’s going to move very quickly.”

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