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Ontario man receives Guinness World Record for oldest person to receive kidney transplant

Walter Tauro, 88, with his Guinness World Record certificate. (Courtesy of Lionel Tauro) Walter Tauro, 88, with his Guinness World Record certificate. (Courtesy of Lionel Tauro)
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An elderly man living in the Greater Toronto Area has just been officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest person to have ever received a kidney transplant.

Walter Tauro, from Markham, was 87 years old when he underwent the procedure at St. Michael’s Hospital in June 2023. Months later, in March, Guinness World Records awarded Tauro with the title of oldest kidney transplant recipient for a male

Tauro told CTV News Toronto during an interview he was on dialysis for four years, going in for hours-long visits every other day for treatment for his kidney disease.

It made him awfully tired and weak, Tauro said, so he considered surgery.

“Everybody said, ‘No, no, you’re too old,” Tauro said Wednesday. “I said, ‘I want to take the risk. If I live, I will be living happy.’ I had a good chance of living, so they gave me a chance.”

The kidney transplant program at the downtown Toronto hospital is a specialized centre for people with severe kidney disease. According to the hospital, in its article about Tauro’s surgery, the senior underwent several assessments and conversations with the hospital before he was eventually cleared for a kidney transplant.

“In our program, it is not the age of the patient that matters it is their overall health,” Meriam Jayoma-Austria, a registered nurse in the kidney transplant program said in the St. Michael’s article. “Walter went through the program seamlessly, from his heart assessments to a bone marrow analysis.”

When it came to the day of the surgery, on June 11, 2023, Tauro’s son, Lionel, didn’t know he was going in for it.

“He would regularly go for tests for the hospital, so I was puzzled why everybody was saying bye to my dad,” Lionel Tauro told CTV News Toronto. “My dad didn’t want me to worry. So I said, ‘Okay Dad, you’re going for a test I’ll see you tomorrow.’ And then dad goes in the taxi, and he goes to the hospital himself.”

The following morning, Lionel Tauro received a call from his mother to say his father’s surgery had been completed.

“I was stunned,” Lionel Tauro said.

According to Walter Tauro, the surgery took six hours – and he woke up from the procedure feeling “okay.”

“Usually people stay there seven to 10 days, I end up staying there for one month,” Tauro said, as he needed to recover from some infections. But now, nearly 10 months later, his new kidney is functioning well.

Dr. Ramesh Prasad, a St. Michael’s physician who worked closely with Tauro, told the hospital he was in awe of how quickly he recovered from the procedure.

“The program is constantly pushing for excellence, my hope is this is only the beginning of treating the aging population with such great results,” Prasad said.

Tauro is thankful that he took the chance on the operation.

“It is a very risky and dangerous operation because when you’re old, it’s hard to control yourself, to get better it takes time. But I made it, thank God.” 

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