Jodi - posted on 03/23/2011 ( 8 moms have responded )
Two patients in the UK were given kidneys from a woman with an extremely rare form of cancer
During a post-mortem examination on the donor done routinely after transplants, it was discovered she had intravascular B-cell lymphoma, a rare type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma which is difficult to diagnose.
And to make the issue worse, both of the patients were ready to receive donations from their respective sisters but were instead given the diseased organs.
The patients, Robert Law, 59, and Gillian Smart, 46, are now receiving chemotherapy at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital – where they were given the kidneys late last year. They have also consulted lawyers about taking action against the hospital.
Mr Law, said: “I don’t know whether there is anyone to blame or not. We want to find out how, why and when and what mistakes have been made, if any. Given that I had a live donor, who has been tested, gone through all the procedures, why was I given a cancer-infected kidney from someone else?”
Miss Smart, from St Helens, said a transplant had previously been her ‘get out of jail card’. She added: “This was where my life could start again. Now I think, goodness, I may have many years of fighting a potentially fatal illness.”
The hospital’s medical director Peter Williams said a transplant team had discussed options and risks with the patients and had obtained their consent. He added: “This is a very difficult and distressing time and we continue to offer our full support, care and treatment to them.”
Also to note, the incident happened weeks before new rules in the UK were circulated to clinicians on obtaining consent from patients and warning them of risks. Post-mortems on donors before transplantation were impossible as they would take too long and render organs unusable.
The hospital’s chief executive, Tony Bell, said in a letter to Mr Law that “had there been any suspicion that the donor had cancer the transplant would not have taken place.”
Do you think the recipients have a case to sue for damages, given that there is no way the doctors could have known, and a decision needed to be made before an autopsy could possibly have been done (because the organs needed to be transplanted before they deteriorated), and given that this is one of the risks that is associated with a transplant, which was explained to them?