MIRACLE MAN: Hervey Bay's Christopher Olin after his kidney transplant.
MIRACLE MAN: Hervey Bay's Christopher Olin after his kidney transplant. Contributed

Blood type shock during man's kidney transplant

WITH his kidney function dangerously low, Hervey Bay's Chris Olin welcomed the news that he was eligible for a transplant.

But his unique medical circumstances meant an urgent phone call would be made to his wife in the middle of his surgery to make sure the operation could go ahead.

Chris was diagnosed with blood cancer more than 20 years ago and underwent a bone marrow transplant 12 years ago thanks to his brother.

The change in his blood marrow meant instead of the type B blood he had produced his whole life, he was now producing type A.

Because of his illness, Chris has been taking medication for years, but doctors were unsure what had caused his kidneys to fail.

He started dialysis last March and he was added to the transplant list.

Chris had plenty of living donors lined up wanting to give him the gift of a new kidney.

But his unique circumstances meant doctors wanted to wait until they found a good match.

Type A kidneys can only be used for those with type A blood and that left Chris on the waiting list until the right kidney became available.

On February 24 at 2am, Chris and his wife Joyce got the call they had been waiting for and headed to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane.

All kidney transplants in Queensland are undertaken at this hospital and Chris knew he was in good hands.

Put under anaesthesia, Chris was unconscious when doctors made a shocking discovery.

Chris understands the team had checked his blood type just to be sure before the transplant went ahead.

They found out it had reverted to type B.

"Apparently the operating room went into a total tizz," Chris said.

A frantic phone call was made to Joyce to check to see if she still wanted the transplant to go ahead.

Doctors found that despite the change in Chris' blood type, the kidney was still considered to be a good match for his tissue type.

Joyce gave them the go-ahead and Chris woke up with his new kidney - one that he says doctors believe was an incredible match, despite the last minute revelation.

"It turns out it's pretty spectacular," he said.

"The new kidney is behaving really well."

While the surgical site is still sore, the level of waste in Chris' blood has already dropped back to a normal level, proving his kidney function is getting better each day.


"It's quite a gift I've been given," Chris said.


Since leaving hospital, Chris and his wife have been staying at a block of apartments and walking to the hospital each day where he gets a regular check up.

He's taking a handful of medication daily to stop his body from rejecting the kidney.