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St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton livestreams kidney transplant

WATCH ABOVE: Kidney transplant surgery livestreamed to raise awareness about kidney disease, organ donation. Melanie Zettler reports.

Doctors at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton who livestreamed a kidney transplant Wednesday say the surgery went “fantastic.”

Dr. Anil Kapoor performed the transplant, and says it went “perfect.”

44-year-old NagaMani Turaga donated one of her kidney’s to her 45-year-old husband Bhargav Turaga, who first developed a kidney condition in 2006.

In an effort to raise awareness about kidney disease and the importance of organ donation, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is taking us inside the operating room.

Doctors at the hospital perform about two kidney transplants a week, but Wednesday’s procedure was a first.

That’s because doctors performed the surgery and put a livestream on the hospital’s Facebook page.

WARNING Graphic content: Livestream of kidney transplant at Hamilton hospital:

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The patient is Bhargav Turaga, 45, who first developed a kidney condition in 2006. His minor kidney condition seemed manageable, almost unnoticeable.

Two years ago, a sudden deterioration of his kidney’s function changed that picture and Bhargav faces a future of complete deterioration of his kidney and eventually daily dialysis.

“We came to a stage where my kidney functions are totally coming down,” he said ahead of the procedure. “I think less than nine per cent now.”

A new kidney could change that future.

His wife, NagaMani Turaga, 44, stepped forward and discovered that she was a match.

READ MORE: Bride gets life-saving kidney transplant days before her wedding

So she is donating one of her kidneys to her husband in a procedure that begins at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“I feel so happy, I’m giving just to my husband to give a better life to him,” she said. “Because we love him a lot … we need him.”

Bhargav said doctors told him was that he’s going to start feeling better immediately after the procedure, which is something he’s very much looking forward to.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a silent disease’: Online quiz alerts people to kidney disease risk

“We are excited, but a bit nervous too,” he said. “I never thought that this is going to be livestreamed and all of Canada can watch this.”

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Regardless, the couple is happy Bhargav will be able to be there for their two teenage daughters, aged 16 and 13.

“They know dad is in tough times right now and that mom is helping them,” he said. “So it’s kind of an interesting time for them — dad and mom helping each other.”

Dr. Darin Treleaven, medical director of transplantation at St. Joseph’s, said that of the 30 to 40 living transplants the hospital does per year — about a quarter of them are husband and wife recipients and donors.

READ MORE: Ontario hits milestone with more than 340,000 registered organ donors in 2015-16

“Chronic kidney disease is something that’s very common. It affects one in 10 Canadians,” he said, adding that a transplant is the best way to avoid dialysis.

“It really allows people to go on and have their own normal life back, which is our goal, and the amount of teamwork that occurs everyday is heartwarming.

Treleaven said that about 30 different clinicians were involved in the operation and it affects every area of the hospital.

With files from Melanie Zettler

Chronic kidney disease:

1 in 10 Canadians has chronic kidney disease

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26,953 people in Ontario have end-stage chronic kidney disease

Transplants in Canada:

14,591 living with a functioning kidney transplant in Canada

3,473 patients waiting for a kidney transplant in Canada

67 patients died while waiting for a kidney transplant in 2014

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Kidney and Urinary Program:

Caring for 2,000 patients with chronic kidney disease

640 patients undergoing dialysis every day

81,000 dialysis treatments each year

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Kidney Transplant Program is one of Ontario’s largest

2 kidney transplants per week

100 kidney transplants per year

1,200 successful transplant patients being followed for care

(Source: Ontario Renal Network and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton)