Our Year 13 and 14 pupils were treated to a truly inspirational lecture this week during Enrichment
from Consultant Transplant Surgeon Mr Tim Brown, Belfast City hospital, Belfast Health and Social
Care Trust.

The pupils learnt that kidney disease can affect any of us, at any time in our lives. It has a huge
impact on people’s lives, with patients on dialysis having to spend hours on dialysis weekly to
clean out the toxins from their bloodstream. Whilst dialysis keeps a patient healthy, it is a harsh
process on the system, so a kidney transplant is a better option, with better outcomes for the patient.
Mr Brown spoke of the altruism of organ donors, who give another person the chance of extending
and improving their quality of life, thanks to their loved ones consenting to their organs being
donated. It was very encouraging to hear that people are becoming increasingly more aware of
the importance of this ultimate act of generosity through organ donation education and promotion.
Mr Brown also spoke of the Living donor programme, for which the Belfast Transplant Team is
world leading. Mr Brown performed more kidney transplants than any other surgeon in the UK
last year. Some of the children who have received a kidney went on to compete in the UK Transplant
Games over in Newcastle last year.

We were taken on the journey of the transplant from the living donor with video footage and also
with the procedure of transplanting the kidney into the recipient. Time is of the essence in this
surgery and must be stitched in within 30 minutes. Mr Brown discussed the case where the
donor kidney had a tumour in it, and in order to perform the surgery, a 3D model of the kidney,
with the tumour embedded accurately into the model, was created by Axial 3D, which was the
first of its kind worldwide.

It is very clear that Mr Brown is passionate about saving lives and this was very apparent from the
hours that he may work on surgeries, indeed, multiple surgeries in one day.
Pupils got a chance for them consider real cases of donors and their particular medical history
alongside the history of the potential recipient and whether or not they thought they would accept
the kidney on offer. Pupils enjoyed the decision-making process and it hit home that it is quite rare
to refuse a kidney, especially if this might be the last chance for the recipient who may have spent
years on the Waiting List.

It was with delight that we welcomed Mr Tim Brown back to Aquinas to speak to our pupils and
we look forward to working with him again in the future.