Boy killed by firecracker becomes lifesaver

By Sheila Crisostomo, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 07 2014 02:03 AM | Updated as of Jan 07 2014 10:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The 12-year-old boy who died from serious head injuries due to a firecracker explosion made history as the country's first pediatric donor of kidneys to an adult patient.

“This is the first time that it has been done in the Philippines – a pediatric donor of two kidneys transplanted to an adult donor recipient,” Health Secretary Enrique Ona said yesterday.

Ona told a press briefing that the parents of John Kenneth Deñega decided to donate his kidneys when he was left brain dead and comatose.

“If you are brain dead, the functions of the brain are already gone, and these are the types of patients who are perfect for organ donors. His parents agreed to donate his kidneys,” he said.

The boy’s kidneys were transplanted to a 64-year-old male radio commentator, who is suffering from diabetes and end-stage renal disease.

Ona said the transplant was successfully performed at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute on Jan. 4, “giving the patient a new lease on life.”

“We are thankful that despite the tragedy that befell the family, they still had the courage and equanimity to agree that the kidneys of their son be able to give life to another person,” he said. Deñega reportedly hit his head when the gunpowder from unexploded firecrackers he and his friend Mark Jason Gotos, 11, collected last Jan. 1 exploded.

Gotos lost his two hands and his left eye was removed due to the injuries he suffered.

Citing the DOH’s “Iwas Paputok” registry, Ona said 1,018 fireworks-related injuries were reported from Dec. 21, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014.

Ona said the number is 87 percent higher than the 931 cases reported from Dec. 21, 2012 to Jan. 5, 2013, and 73 cases more than the five-year average from 2008 to 2012.