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“If it wasn’t for The London Clinic, I wouldn’t be alive.”

06 Jun 2023

Nourah Mohammad Alajmi was admitted to the Clinic with chronic renal failure from a hospital in Germany. Here she shares how treatment at The London Clinic saved both her mental and physical health.  

Noura with Dr John Goldstone, Clinical Director for Intensive Care Medicine at The London Clinic, standing by a picture in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that Noura painted and donated to the Clinic while she was a patient in the ICU.
Nourah with Dr John Goldstone, Clinical Director for Intensive Care Medicine at The London Clinic, standing by a picture in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that Nourah painted and donated to the Clinic while she was a patient in the ICU.

I owe my life to The London Clinic.  That may sound like an exaggeration but I mean it. I don’t say those words lightly.

I was so ill when I was admitted, that when I briefly came to consciousness in the Intensive Care Unit surrounded by the white walls, tucked up in white sheets, with the nurses around me in their white uniforms I truly thought I had died and gone to heaven. Fortunately for me, that wasn't the case in fact I had been transferred by air from Germany where I had been hospitalised for four months.

My home is usually in Kuwait, where I am surrounded by my family but, to get better The London Clinic would become my home, and its staff my new family. To regain my health, I would have to spend over two years as an inpatient at the Clinic from 2018 to 2020.

I haven’t enjoyed good health since 2016. My health issues started with leg oedema and kidney failure resulting in regular dialysis. I also developed heart problems and had to have a pacemaker fitted seven years ago in Kuwait. This was due to developing a condition called calciphylaxis. It’s a rare condition that causes the heart valves to narrow. The risk of having a heart attack rises hence the pacemaker. But that’s not all. Calciphylaxis causes blood clots, painful skin ulcers and may cause serious infections that can lead to death.

With this poor prognosis, my doctors in Kuwait decided to send me to the United States for treatment which was counterproductive to my condition, and I returned to Kuwait. From there I was then transferred to a hospital in Germany for further treatment but because of the care I was given there, my health deteriorated.    

Fortunately, I have a sister who is very good at research. She could see that instead of thriving and getting better I was rapidly getting worse and worse. My sister poured over internet pages to find one of the best medical experts in the specialty of nephrology and found Dr Robin Woolfson at The London Clinic. As a matter of urgency, I was admitted to the Clinic - not that I remember much of the journey or being admitted - I was unconscious and in desperate need of a kidney donation for any chance of surviving.

All my family were screened as potential donors and my father was found to be the closest match. At that time, the Clinic didn’t offer kidney transplants. Therefore, I had my transplant at the Royal Free Hospital and returned to The London Clinic for my aftercare. (Now it is possible to have donor screening and a full kidney transplant procedure at the Clinic.)

But I still had a long way to go, and other consultants at The London Clinic were involved in my recovery plan including Professor Alan Salama, who specialises in immunological kidney diseases and excels in his expertise in vasculitis, autoimmunity, and transplantation.

World class expertise and the best of nursing supports steady recovery

Because of the treatment I had in Germany I had multiple scars that had become infected resulting in extensive skin tissue damage, therefore I came under the care of Consultant Mr David Ross who specialises in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. As I was a patient on the Intensive Care Unit for seven months much of my care was overseen by Dr John Goldstone who is the Clinical Director for Intensive Care Medicine at The London Clinic, and Dr Geoffrey Bellingan, Professor in Intensive Care. My care regime also involved having I had daily physiotherapy and regular CT and MRI scans.

Nothing was too much trouble for the consultants, doctors, nurses, therapists, and even the catering team. Chef Paul visits all in-patients to ask what they would like to eat, it’s a much-appreciated personal service. If you are on a special diet it’s so reassuring to know the dietician team has your medical history, and of course, everyone in the multidisciplinary team knew my case inside and out. 

Going the extra recovery mile

I am a very creative person. I love handcrafting and painting. I needed these outlets to ensure my spirits were kept up. Dr Woolfson understood this about me and arranged for my sister to bring in all my art equipment and jewellery-making tools. He even arranged a change of suite for me so I had ‘studio space’. This was so important as it hugely supported my mental and physical recovery.     

I’ve recovered 80% of my good health but I’m actually better than I have been for years. I owe everything to the doctors and nursing staff at The London Clinic.

My sincere thanks go to Dr Woolfson who was not only my doctor but my saviour too, he safeguarded me from losing hope by visiting me every day. More thanks go Professor Alan Salama, Dr John Goldstone, Dr Geoffrey Bellingan, Mr David Ross, the Tissue Viability nurses, and Mona Angol, Dialysis Manager, and her team.

I will never be able to repay them.

Find out more about kidney treatment at The London Clinic

For information on self-pay treatment packages and 0% finance options (T&Cs apply) speak to our friendly Self-Pay team on 020 3219 3256.