A NEWMARKET-on-Fergus man has described his life transformation as “amazing”
following the receipt of a second kidney transplant.
On November 23, Eoghan O’Neill (38) received a second kidney transplant from his
brother, Hugh in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
Receiving a transplant in the midst of a Covid-19 pandemic is a lot more difficult for
Eoghan explained Covid-19 delayed the transplant operation by three or four months,
before it was finally completed.
“Doctors want to get you out of the hospital as quickly as possible because of Covid-19. I
stayed in Beaumont for just seven days, which is the main danger period after an
Once he came home, Eoghan, who works in property management in Limerick, was
strictly monitored and had blood tests in University Hospital Limerick twice a week.
He admitted resuming dialysis for a second time wasn’t easy and is very grateful to his
brother for giving him a new lease of life.
“I received my transplant just over three months ago from my brother, Hugh who I can’t
thank enough. He jumped at the chance to help me and was delighted when we found out
he was a suitable match. Hugh is feeling 100% and thankfully I feel amazing and am back
to full strength.
“My energy levels are back to normal. I have got a new lease of life. Being off the dialysis
is just amazing. It is so time consuming.”
He believes a lot of lives would be saved if Ireland adopted a compulsory opt in process
for having a donor card as a lot of people don’t really think about it as it doesn’t come up in
every day conversation.
If anyone has a difficulty with carrying a card, he says they can opt out.
“I would urge people to get an organ donor card. If people knew how much they could
transform someone’s life from incredible hardship to full health, I think they would be
amazed. It is the greatest gift in life you could ever give and you would be doing an
He outlined his experience to highlight Organ Donor Awareness Week, which runs from March 27 to April 4.
The Newmarket native was first diagnosed with kidney disease when he was 18 years old
after the build of up lipids in his kidneys when a key enzyme was no longer functioning
Eoghan was very sporty at the time, spent a lot of time in the gym and used to play golf.
He started to get pains in his lower back but ignored it on the basis of “no pain no gain”.
However, the dull ache in his back continued and he started to get very thirsty, which he
couldn’t seem to quench, despite drinking huge volumes of water.
After getting blood tests, it was discovered his creatinine level was very high and received
the bombshell that his kidneys were very bad.
A subsequent biopsy revealed his kidneys were covered in scar tissue.
Consultant nephrologist Dr Con Cronin advised him dialysis was necessary and, after
delaying it during a period of denial before accepting he really needed, he started
peritoneal dialysis at home for 12 hours a day.
Following an operation a tube was put into his peritoneal and this tube was left hanging out
of him all of the time. The tube is connected to a machine that puts liquid into the kidney
patient for up to eleven hours.
Eoghan always completed his haemodialysis at night and stressed it is very difficult for any
kidney patient to get away for a break.
While the Irish Kidney Association can organise a stay in a holiday home in Waterford, he
outlined it involves a huge amount of organising and preparation.
“It is not just the machine itself, there are a lot of products with the machine that have to be
transported. You need 15 litres of fluid a day so if you go away for five days you need 75
“It is like being tied to the machine like a ball and chain, you can never go far, as you have
to be back in time to go through the whole process every day.”
Following two years on haemodialysis, Eoghan received his first kidney transplant from a
deceased donor, which lasted about 14 years.
When this kidney started to fail, doctors advised him dialysis was inevitable once again
until he obtained another transplant.
At the age of 36, Eoghan resumed haemodialysis for two years and three months.
“Apart from the 12 hours on dialysis, a lot of time is also spent setting up the dialysis
machine and taking it apart afterwards. Add regular trips to the hospital, GP, pharmacy,
dialysis waste company and organising the delivery of an enormous amount of boxes for
the dialysis, there is not much time to do anything. Your energy levels are always low.
“It is a very poor quality of life and your only hope is of someone kind who wants to help
you either through a family member giving a live donation or a deceased donor who has
filled out the organ donor card, which unfortunately not enough people do.”
People can order a organ donor card from the website www.ika.ie or ring them on 01