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Dr Ashton Coetzee and Kidney Awareness week

Dr Ashton Coetzee is a senior registrar in Nephrology. He joined the renal ward at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in August of 2016. He spends his day treating patients with various kidney related problems and treating patients who have recently had kidney transplants.

Dr Coetzee says one of the most common types of kidney diseases is Nephritis- the inflammation in the kidneys- which cause swelling, fevers or a sore throat and could lead to abnormalities in the kidneys. Another common kidney disease that Dr Coetzee treats is Nephrotic Syndrome- when the patient’s kidneys lose protein causing growth abnormalities. This kidney problem can lead to kidney failure if not managed properly.

Dr Coetzee says, “This year has been a very good year with kidney transplants. So far, we’ve had nine transplants, which is very good compared to last year where we only had five.”

There are roughly 15 children on the transplant waiting list. But having the kidney transplant is the first step. Dr Coetzee is very involved in post-transplant care, most importantly, ensuring that the patient doesn’t reject the new kidney. Dr Coetzee explained that overtime there is a slow background rejection meaning that the new kidney does not last forever. A good kidney will last between 15 and 20 years.

Dr Coetzee is passionate about his work and says that the greatest thing for him is that you get to see the journey of the patient from the beginning to the end and you also get to build good relationships with the children. He is excited about the great services and skills offered at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and in the future, he would like to offer his skills to those in need.


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