Siblings undergo pioneering kidney transplant at Malaga hospital

Adelina and Manuel Díaz Mora, accompanied by medical staff and Manuel's wife
Adelina and Manuel Díaz Mora, accompanied by medical staff and Manuel's wife / J. Muñoz. EFE
  • The operation saw the first kidney transplant from a live donor with an incompatible blood group in Andalusia

Siblings Manuel and Adelina Díaz Mora confess that they have rediscovered the joys of living after the latter, aged 46, donated one of her kidneys to her brother, aged 44. Adelina, an outgoing and likeable woman, not only saved her brother from being hooked up to a haemodialysis machine but also instilled in him a new lease of life: "When I wake up, I feel as if I am 20 years old again."

While Andalucía has seen a record number of organ transplants performed, with 814 in 2016, the one that took place on 27 September in the Carlos Haya hospital in Malaga was unique in that it was the first kidney transplant to take place in Andalucía with a live donor of an incompatible blood group. After a nervous three weeks, the operation was declared a success, with Manuel stating that it had changed his life for the better and that he would forever be indebted to his sister.

Until recently, there was a firm contraindication against donation among people of different blood type owing to the fact that the transplanted kidney would be rejected immediately and would cease to work. Four months after the operation, Manuel and Adelina "are in perfect health and the transplanted kidney is working," explained Jorge Soler, urologist and the doctor responsible for kidney transplants at the Malaga hospital.

Manuel suffers from a congenital illness that deteriorated his kidney function. He and his sister were included on a programme designed to find donors for organ transplants called Donación Cruzada. However, a compatible donor could not be found and Manuel started haemodialysis. He was hooked up to the machine for three months.

However, Manuel was offered a lifeline as it was discovered that he and his sister shared the same HLA (human leokocyte antigen) typing, something that only occurs in every one out of four siblings, meaning that a direct transplant was possible. After taking into account other factors, such as the good health of the siblings, the operation went ahead and proved to be a success.