Kidney patient Marcel Persad on the uncertainty of corona and its effects on his life


Marcel Persad (51) is a part-time lecturer in tax law at the University of Amsterdam and lives with his mother (71) and daughter (22). He has kidney failure for 15 years. 

In 2007 he was transplanted for the first time, but the kidney was rejected after 8 years after a jab of a mosquito and he contracted a virus (chikungunya). His resistance was low and could not fight the infection. Since then, he has been on dialysis 4 days a week for three hours. In March 2020 Marcel tested positive for COVID-19. During the webcast of October 28, 2020, Marcel Persad talks more about how the corona virus first delayed his kidney transplantation, he got corona and stayed on the ICU and how corona affected his life after his delayed kidney surgery.

Delayed kidney transplantation

On 15 March, Prime Minister Rutte announced the intelligent lockdown in the Netherlands. This meant that my kidney transplantation from the end of March could not go ahead and was postponed. A few days after the press conference, I got a weird cough. This turned out to be no cause for concern, as I did not have a fever or was short of breath. I didn't feel fully fit and I thought right away that maybe I could have corona. I called my dialysis doctor and he had me tested the same day. It turned out to be positive. I had to dialysize in an isolation room from then on, which felt very strange. The first week I only had mild flu-like symptoms. But on the 9th day, I woke up and felt so weak, I couldn't even get out of bed. My strength and fitness is normally 60% of normal, but felt at one point this was only 10%. The GP then came over and at that time found oxygen levels of my blood, and sent me straight to the hospital. My lungs were affected without me being really short of breath. In the hospital it quickly went downhill, I don't remember any of that. After 6 days in intensive care (ICU), I woke up in another hospital. After three weeks I was discharged from the hospital and my recovery lasted almost 6 weeks before I felt a bit old again.

Life after kidney transplantation and coronavirus

On October 1, the postponed kidney transplantation finally took place. I've traded one uncertainty for another uncertainty. In itself I am not afraid of the virus, but I am afraid of its possible consequences. I've waited four years for this kidney, and if it's rejected, it means dialysis again. And the question remains whether I could be transplanted again in the future. That's why I'm going into quarantine for three months myself. However, I cannot keep my fellow housemates, especially my 22-year-old daughter, at home. I am afraid that she may infect me, and have therefore asked to attend home school for at least the first few months.

Message: caregivers be reactive rather than passive

THE patient doesn't exist. One patient is empowered, the other likes to take control of his own life. In corona time, even though I'm an empowered patient, I didn't ask any questions. I didn't know what to ask. I was at the mercy of the doctors. They should try to proactively take patients with them if patients engage in passive behavior. In this way, we can continue to provide the care that patients want and need.

What do you want to give others?

  • Hope makes life, even in these uncertain times. I am optimistic and want others to keep hope.
  • Put on a mask in public indoor spaces, not because you have to, but to protect yourself and others.
  • Corona is not a flu. And if you don't have any symptoms, it doesn't mean you don't have corona. Therefore, keep sufficient distance and stay at home as much as possible.

My fight against corona virus has been described in an interview for the kidney patient association (NVN): Interaction no. 3, June 2020) and in an interview with Hart van Nederland (20-08-2020)


Marcel Persad | lecturer in tax law and kidney patient |

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Interview Fenna Heyning and Marcel Persad

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