Cardiac death organs now “good” for transplants

Awoken with a start at 6.55 AM by the phone. At that time of day it’s usually bad news, or somebody in Sweden not thinking. Today, it was BBC Surrey Radio.

Phone voice: “Cim, can you do an interview in 20 minutes with Nick Wallis on his breakfast show?”

Cim: “Of course”.

Cim has of course, been interviewed by Nick Wallis on BBC Surrey Radio before, so it’s a good bet that this is about transplants. It seems Cim is the go-to ‘expert’ now.  We leave it at that, and sure enough they call again at 7.15 and Cim is live on air.

Kidney transplant policy change could save hundreds

Patients are now often offered a kidney from a donor whose heart has stopped

Nick Wallis: “So Cim, what do you think this latest piece of research will mean for transplant queues?”

Cim: “Er…”

Breaking overnight news had blind-sided us. This is the story that a Cambridge University study has now found that kidneys from people who’s hearts have stopped can now be used for transplants. That may sound a little odd, but previously, only brain-death kidneys could be used. This post’s headline might sound like a death metal album title, but it means a breakthrough, and fewer people will die waiting for a kidney transplant.

As Cim gets to grip with the interview, she agrees with Nick that this is Good News.  It means there will be more kidney transplants and more people will have the chance to leave a normal life again.

The early morning phone call can mean good news, then, and for those on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, that phone call can now come sooner.

Hear the interview on BBC iPlayer until 27 August. From 17 minutes in.

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Shackleton’s Antarctic whisky raided. Not by me, honest!

A quick update here, by way of test posting simultaneously to thenightjar.posterous.com and www.antarcticodyssey.wordpress.com.

I wrote a while ago on the Antarctica blog, about discovery of the Antarctic explorer Shackleton’s whisky stash from the British Antarctic Expedition of 1907. Now the crate has been carefully thawed out, it seems one of the bottles is missing. It wasn’t me; we weren’t in that part of Antarctica. However, the labels are fairly well preserved, and reveal the whisky to be a Chas. Mackinlay & Co. bottling called Rare Old Highland Malt.

White and Mackay, the present owners of the Chas. Mackinlay brand, plan to take small samples from the century-old bottles and reproduce the whisky. Richard Paterson (aka The Nose), who is master blender at W&M, on his blog says, once conservation is complete and samples taken, the crate of eleven bottles will be returned to Antarctica.

I would love to get my hands on the new bottling and take it down there to sample.