Ugyen Lhamo is a 44 year old Bhutanese woman who is suffering from acute end-stage kidney disease/failure. She is the mother of two children, a son (age 20) and a daughter (age 17). She is also a devoted wife to Tandin Wangchuk, and loving friend to many. To continue living, Ugyen requires a kidney transplant. Her husband, Tandin, has agreed to be the donor for her kidney.
It is reported that Ugyen has been suffering from acute migraines for a long time, relying on medication to relieve the symptoms. She has been told that the migraine drugs may have been the cause for her kidney failure.
Ugyen has been described by her sister, Tshewang Lhamo, as being: “Soft and gentle. She was one who always said, "welcome to my house" even when there was no food or money. She is patient and kind and found a way to help others even when she did not feel so well. She took care of her husband's Mom and Dad as well as her own two children.
Her husband is skilled in making bells and has worked on consignment out of their home, often making enough for the family's food. As you know, he is faithfully at her side now.”
The Bhutanese government will pay for Ugyen’s surgery which must be done in Bangalore, India—5,000 miles from home. She would not survive the wait list for the surgery if it were done in Bhutan. The medical facility in Bangalore requires payment for laboratory studies which are quite frequent, hemodialysis (cleaning of her blood because of the loss of kidney function). In addition, the impoverished family must also raise money for their own room and board before the surgery and during the recovery phase. Tests must be done on Ugyen as well as her husband/donor.
Cost of kidney failure is very high in India. The cost of getting haemodialysis (12 dialysis / month) is around Rs. 12-15,000/- per month whereas for peritoneal dialysis it is around Rs. 18-20,000/- per month. (Other sources put the range between 20,000-24,000/month).
Getting a transplant done costs around Rs. 4 lakhs on an average. After that the per month recurring costs may vary from Rs. 5,000/- to Rs. 10,000/- depending upon the condition of the patient.
A normal person in India cannot afford this extremely costly treatment. The problem is compounded by the fact that kidney failure is incurable. So these costs have to borne till the patient passes away. This puts a perennial load on the patient and his/her family. This is the most important reason why only 2-3% of kidney failure patients in India get treated.
Summarizing costs on the high end:
- 25,000 per month for hemodialysis
- 17,000 per month for hemodialysis kits
- 3,000 for EPO (to treat anemia)
- 1,000 per month for medication
- 1,500 per month for laboratory tests
- 500 per month for doctor fees
Total costs (high side): 48,000 IR ($780/month) for costs related to preparing for surgery
- Rent in Bangalore: 2 bedroom: 16,-18,000 IR per month (approx. $300 per month)
- Utilities: 1,500 ($25 per month)
- Food expenses-1200 IR per day ($20 per day)
- Transportation for dialysis: 212 per cab ride
- Care taker salary: ?$30 per month
Total living costs (on low side): approx. $755/month
Total living plus medical costs: approx. $1,535 per month (does not cover medical costs for donor)
Ugyen will need at least $1,535 per month, while in Bangalore, until her transplant can be performed. After the transplant, there's no knowing what the cost will be, because we can't predict complications that might arise from the transplant surgery and from harvesting her husband's kidney. We are told she will need to remain in Bangalore for six months post operation.
Post op, she'll need continued support for room and board, as well as immuno suppressant medication, which alone cost on average 15,000 IR or about $250 per month.
This is an extensive, continuous, life long undertaking. We don't know what costs are borne by the Bhutanese government, but Bodhi Seeds is doing everything we can to help in the short term and long term.
Before this appeal, Bodhi Seeds had already sent $3000 to help cover the medical and accompanying expenses. Due to the severity and scope of the situation, those funds have already been exhausted.
If you are able to contribute to this worthy cause, please do. Any amount, in any capacity, will make a difference. Thank you for your kind consideration.
To place a donation, please click here.