Father and son surgeons deliver life-changing transplants to patient Yvette

16 July 2021

Father and son surgeons Ossie and Bimbi Fernando both carried out a kidney transplant operation on the same patient – 34 years apart. 

The duo were featured on BBC One on Thursday evening as part of a programme looking at the history of people from overseas who have come to work for the NHS.

Our NHS: A Hidden History told the story of how Ossie came from Sri Lanka to the UK in the 1960s and helped to set up the fledgling transplant programme at the Royal Free Hospital.

And in 1977 he carried out a kidney transplant on Yvette Phillips when she was just 10 years old – according to her the operation was ‘life-changing’ and meant she could live a normal life. 

Yvette was so grateful to Ossie that when her kidney began to fail 34 years later, she wanted him to carry out the new transplant operation once again. But by that time, Ossie had retired.

Yvette said: “I asked for Bimbi to it because his dad did my first one in 1977.” 

Ossie said: “When you’ve done a good transplant – and you know when you see if functioning – you realise you’re starting a new life for them.”

Our NHS: A Hidden History is available to view on BBC iPlayer.

Top image: Ossie and Bimbi Fernando

Bottom image: Yvette Phillips