TLC Fellowship Boosts Capabilities of Local Transplant Surgeon

Following a one year fellowship in the United Kingdom, local surgeon, Dr. Natacha Paquette, is back in Barbados and putting her new skills to work with local kidney transplant surgeries.

Barbados’ Kidney Transplant Programme was birthed through a partnership between the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and UK-based Transplant Links Community (TLC), which sees local doctors and nurses receiving medical training in the care of kidney patients, including the intricacies of kidney transplant operations. Through its corporate social responsibility programme, the Power to Make a Difference (PMAD), Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited continues to fund the initiative.

Dr. Paquette’s fellowship took place in Birmingham at a medical unit that does 200 transplants a year, and has the biggest dialysis population in the country. She described her training as “an absolutely fantastic experience and completely worth it.”

Prior to the fellowship, Dr. Paquette was exposed to four paired renal transplants - four donors and four recipients. Over the course of her fellowship, she gained far more experience.

“I’ve been involved with over 80 transplant surgeries, both deceased donor transplants and live donor transplants. I was able to take part in all aspects of the process of renal transplantation from the initial consultation with the surgeon, the pre-operative assessments, the actual surgery as well as the post operative care. With each case, I had the chance to learn something valuable,” she explained.

Dr Nick Inston, the transplant surgeon based in Birmingham who oversaw Dr. Paquette’s training, praised her for throwing herself into the programme with “great gusto”.

“She came over specifically to learn transplantation and donor surgery but had a much broader remit on the overall care of renal transplant patients and those patients being prepared for transplant….She has experience now in peritoneal dialysis surgery and management and also the all important overall management of transplant patients before, through, and after transplant,” he said.

Regarding future plans for the partnership between TLC and the local programme, he added, “I think the steps forward are to ensure safety. We need to have a bit more supervised training on-site in Barbados and then we’ll try and use some technological advances to try and ensure continuity of support for Dr. Margaret O’Shea and Natacha to build on a future of training and mentorship."

Dr. Paquette will soon be working on some local live donor pairs. While Barbados does not have legislation in place for deceased donors, she says that too is in the works.

“In conjunction with Dr. O'Shea, who is already on the ground, I think that we’re just going to push as much as possible to get the legislation in place, and educate the population towards deceased donation and kidney awareness in general,” she said.

Of the partnership with TLC, she said, “I think that the TLC group will continue to be a great source of help for us until we are fully up and running, and I hope that we can continue to partner with them until we are holding our own strongly, which I believe is going to be relatively soon.”

April 11, 2022
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