Ireland's Eye: What's going on in the old sod


Derry man born with four kidneys

A local Derry man has been speaking for the first time about how he baffled medics when they discovered he had four kidneys.
In fact, it was only when Patsy Doherty had a brush with death 30 years ago after falling from scaffolding that he, in turn, ended up saving his own life when doctors made the unusual discovery.

Despite having double the amount of kidneys as everyone else, the Clonmany man looked like a perfectly healthy teenage boy who was rarely sick.

Little did he know he was suffering from major organ failure and wouldn't have lived to see his twenties had he not been rushed to hospital on the day he took a tumble on a building site.

At the time, doctors told the now 58-year-old that he had, in fact, uniquely got four kidneys -- instead of the normal two -- three of which had failed while the fourth was only half working. Medics speculated he could have been a twin (in his mother's womb) and that's, perhaps, where the extra two kidneys came from.

On top of that, they discovered he had a massive cyst on his bladder which was putting pressure on the only kidney that was part working. They had to operate on him to remove the cyst and his extra kidneys.

"I never had any health problems all my life. It was only when I fell off the scaffolding that I went to hospital and they discovered the problems with my kidneys by sheer accident,” Doherty, a farmer, said.

"I had to have a series of operations at the time. They had to remove the cyst from my bladder and then, step by step, they had to remove the three kidneys that had completely failed. The last operation was to remove part of the fourth kidney. I was left then with half a kidney when I was 19.”

With regular hospital check-ups, his remaining half kidney worked perfectly well for 31 years.

It was only when Doherty reached his 50th year that the kidney packed up altogether and he was forced to go on dialysis and, like hundreds of other people across the country, join the kidney transplant waiting list.

He added, "I didn't know that I would have to have a kidney transplant. I didn't know the kidney would have wore out. It frightened me. When I left the hospital, I was in pure denial.

"I was scared and upset and, in one way, I just thought the problem would go away. Being on dialysis was really tough."

He spent two years on dialysis before he got the call to say a kidney had been donated. He says he often thinks about his donor and how grateful he is to have been given a second chance at life.

He's a strong advocate of organ donation and stresses the importance for those who have signed up to relay their feelings to their families.

He's also helping his son, John Francis, to rake in cash for a one-of-a-kind sponsored swim -- from Glashedy Island to Tullagh beach -- in aid of the Irish Kidney Association.

"I'm delighted he's doing the swim, I think he's crazy for doing it because it's never been done before, but hopefully it will help raise awareness and money for the Irish Kidney Association,” Doherty said.
 - Derry Journal
Eye Lost in Fight

A brave 20 year-old Trim woman who lost the sight of one eye when she was assaulted after a party has spoken out about the devastating consequences of the incident on her life.

What should have been a fun night out at an 18th birthday party ended in disaster when Donna Pearson from Manorlands lost the sight in one of her eyes in a terrifying and brutal assault.

She was in court when the young woman who assaulted her was jailed for three years.

Pearson now wants young people to be aware of what can happen when they go out, get drunk and start fighting.

"The incident has had terrible consequences for me and delayed my life, but it has ruined hers. I can get on with my life now, but she will always have a criminal conviction and she will have served time in prison," she said.

At the Circuit Court in Trim, 21-year-old Nicole Regan was jailed for three years for assaulting Pearson and causing her harm on December 14, 2007. Judge Michael O'Shea described the incident as "sinister" and the assault as "brutal."

The incident, which has had a devastating effect on both girls' lives, took place after they had both been at an 18th birthday party in the Warrenstown Arms public house.

Pearson and her assailant were on a bus which was bringing a group of people back from the party to Trim, and there was a petty argument on the bus. When they arrived in Trim, Pearson was walking home when she was surrounded by a group of girls.

She was thumped in the stomach, face and temple and was pinned against a wall. She distinctly remembers her assailant punching her twice in the eye.

The assault by the group of girls only came to an end when Pearson’s uncle realized what was happening and rushed back to her aid.

She was taken to hospital in Navan and transferred the next morning to the Mater Hospital in Dublin, where doctors desperately fought to save her sight.