A NORTH Yorkshire charity worker who underwent a pioneering six-organ transplant has died.
Dawn Carter underwent a 17-hour operation in December 2011 to give her a new stomach, liver, kidney, colon, pancreas and small intestine.
Ms Carter, from Northallerton, had been an intensive care nurse. She needed the drastic transplant after being diagnosed with end-stage liver disease in 2011.
Following the death of a female donor in her 20s, a 12-strong team of medics, including four surgeons, transplanted all the organs as one in an operation that finished on Christmas Eve.
Only 30 out of 88,0000 transplants undertaken in Britain have involved three or more organs being implanted at once.
Shortly after the operation, Ms Carter said she had been scared at the prospect of the rare operation, but said she went ahead knowing she had “no choices left”.
She spent the following six months in hospital and underwent several remedial operations and had to learn to walk again.
But her brother, motorsport correspondent Larry Carter, from Northallerton, said she was beginning to enjoy better health by autumn last year and briefly returned to her work with Northallerton and District Voluntary Service Association.
“She was getting back to a kind of normality and enjoyed the Christmas we promised her we’d have together,” he said.
“She had made plans to return to work in January, which she did briefly, but a series of infections saw her return to Cambridge for treatment occasionally.”
She was diagnosed with partial rejection of a couple of organs in February this year and then suffered an infection last month which caused the first of several strokes which were to leave her brain dead.
Her partner, Martin, had been with her for the last seven weeks of her life at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
When it was clear she was not going to recover, Ms Carter’s mother Dorothy and brother Larry were notified and travelled to the hospital.
Mr Carter said: “They saw her for the last time and they switched the ventilator off and she died at 4.20 on Thursday, March 28.”
Mrs Carter’s funeral service was taking place today at Darlington Crematorium.