How two unplanned medical tests saved a UAE expat's life

Wam/Abu Dhabi
Filed on October 26, 2020 | Last updated on October 27, 2020 at 05.26 am

Doctors told her hereditary factors caused her medical condition.

A Filipina, who is recuperating after a successful kidney transplant in Abu Dhabi, has said that timely diagnosis by unplanned medical tests saved her life.

Pinky P. Carbonera, 37, a dental assistant, said she was diagnosed with kidney failure three years ago. Two unplanned tests — the first in October 2013 that made the initial diagnosis and the second detecting a deteriorated condition in October 2017 — were crucial in her successful treatment.

“The support of two (successive) employers during the past three years, and a cousin who came forward to donate her kidney appeared as ‘angels sent by God’,” she said. “Above all, the most fortunate thing is being in the UAE with advanced medical treatment covered by a health insurance. I am grateful to the support and care given by doctors and staff at Mafraq hospital and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).”

Had it not been for these, Pinky said she also might have had the same fate as her father, who passed away in December 2013 back home due to a kidney failure.

Hereditary factors

“My father, a marine engineer, was diagnosed very late. He could not undergo a kidney transplant because it was too expensive in the Philippines — 2 million Pesos (Dh151,320). His health insurance did not cover the transplant,” said Carbonera.

Doctors told her hereditary factors caused her medical condition. “My experience proves that everyone having a family history of any fatal disease should go for a regular check-up. Early diagnosis always helps successful treatment of any serious ailments,” she explained.

When she felt unwell sometime in October 2013, she went for a basic medical check-up at a clinic. “Surprisingly, I had a very high blood pressure and the doctor prescribed some other tests that diagnosed the kidney dysfunction.”

Worsening condition

Life went on until another unplanned medical check-up detected her worsening condition in October 2017. “I was shocked to see that I had a high creatinine levels — around 780. If it had reached 1,000, I would have been in a coma.”

She was immediately admitted at Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi and undergone two minor surgeries to enable the beginning of dialysis.

Search for kidney donor

The doctors suggested that kidney transplant was the only option. She went through dialysis three days a week the next three years — initially at Mafraq Hospital and then at Seha’s dialysis centre.

The UAE’s organ donation law stipulates that the donor and recipient must be relatives within four degrees.

One day she got a call from her aunt living in a village back home. “Her daughter Airene Penagunda was willing to donate her kidney.”

Airene, 33, reached Abu Dhabi in February this year and Carbonera was delighted when their screening tests found that the transplant was possible.

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