Heart transplant recipient
Arriving home after a trip to Barcelona at the end of 2017, Kevin Ferdinand from Bradford began to feel ill with what he thought was flu.
“I was taking paracetamol and ibuprofen - just thinking I had a bad case of flu. My GP said the same, so I just continued to treat it as I thought was appropriate,” says Kevin.
What Kevin thought was flu turned out to be a virus that caused his heart to dilate, leaving him in desperate need of a heart transplant. He was admitted to Bradford Royal Infirmary in January 2018 with major organ failure. Following severe heart failure, he was transferred to Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester, where he was put on life support.
“Only 7% of my heart was working,” says Kevin, who himself works in the NHS. “I had to have a few operations and had to have a BIVAD – a machine that simulates the function of the heart, pumping the blood in and out of the body.”
Kevin remained in hospital for four months, during which he was placed on the transplant waiting list as a priority.
“I was confined to the hospital and had completely lost my independence – which was a huge shock to the system. There was a great team around me and I just had to trust that they would help me back to health,” Kevin explains. “I have a young daughter and knowing I wanted to be there for her absolutely helped me through. I had to keep thinking that I would just keep going, stay strong, just for her.”
He was even placed in an induced coma and ‘died’ two or three times on the operating table. He finally received a heart transplant in April 2018 and it saved his life.
“Being in that situation gives you a new perspective on life. I am so appreciative of everything I have. Now, my main focus is on raising awareness and helping other people in the same situation.”
Working in the NHS, organ donation is something that Kevin strives to raise awareness of. In only three months, he was back at his desk, ready to make a difference.
“Going back to work when I did is probably my biggest achievement to date. You don’t really think about what a privilege it is, to be able to work, until it’s taken away from you. For me, the fact that I can get up every day, go to work, and make a difference, is my biggest success.”