​The seed of renal transplantation in Singapore

More than 50 years ago, Singaporeans faced a death sentence when they developed kidney failure. There were barely enough dialysis machines for the hundreds of Singaporeans with kidney failure. Also, the costs of receiving such treatment was exorbitantly high for a large majority of Singaporeans who were earning less than hundred dollars a month. As a result, there was a growing population of Singaporeans with kidney failure who were dying every year because they could not afford dialysis. Kidney transplantation was introduced as a solution.

Singapore’s first kidney transplant

Professor Khoo Oon Teik, Head of the Medical Unit 2 of Outram Road General Hospital (later known as SGH) established a 10-bedded dialysis unit at SGH by 1968 which paved the way for kidney transplantation to become a reality.

On 8 July 1970, Ms. Doreen Tan became the first Singaporean to receive a kidney transplant from a 20-year national serviceman, Mr Yee Kwok Chong whose mother Mdm Lee Ah Hoe gave permission for her deceased son’s kidney to be donated for transplantation.  In her own words, ‘I might as well do a good thing by saving a life with something my dying son could not take with him.’ History was made and Singapore’s first kidney transplantation, was performed by a surgical team under Professor Chan Kong Thoe. She survived for another remarkable 22 years which is a testimony to the medical team who struggled to provide basic healthcare services, let alone care for a patient with a kidney transplant.

Over the last 50 years, SGH has been the cradle of modern kidney transplantation in Singapore, built upon many visionary pioneers, all driven by a singular spirit to be a beacon of hope to suffering patients with end kidney failure.

The SGH Renal Transplant Programme today

Today the Renal Transplant Programme at SGH has grown stronger and more resilient through the decades. The vibrant multi-disciplinary transplant team led by Dr Terence Kee, Director of Renal Transplantation, believes transplantation is better than dialysis in enabling a patient with end-stage kidney failure to live life to the fullest. They put their patients at the heart of all they do so that they get a second chance at life. ….This is what Hope looks like.

To celebrate their 50th Anniversary, the Renal Transplant team got together to put up a batik wall art exhibition at block 2. The team worked on bigger pieces together.

While patients and other partners submitted their own smaller batik paintings

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