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Kidney transplant patients get cancer

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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An investigation is now being conducted after two kidney transplant patients were left facing a battle with cancer. Rob Law and Gillian Smart, who had the transplants at Royal Liverpool Hospital, received the kidneys from a donor who had a rare form of cancer known as intravascular B-cell lymphoma. The cancer was only discovered late in the post-mortem examination, by which time the transplants had already been undertaken.
The donor had died of a brain haemorrhage and the surgeons transplanting the organs were totally unaware that the kidneys were cancerous at the time.
Mr Law, speaking to BBC Radio 4's File on 4, conveyed his disappointment at contracting the aggressive form of cancer from a transplant which was intended to save his life. With 10,000 individuals waiting for transplants every year, both patients feel that it is vital to ensure that any organs have sufficient checks so that others are not put in their unfortunate position.
The investigation is being undertaken by The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust together with NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).
Professor James Neuberger, the associate medical director of NHSBT, has commented that these incidents were extremely uncommon but that they were working with clinicians to compose a plan to ensure that the risk of this happening is reduced. However, he pointed out that there would always be a risk when transplanting ‘second-hand’ organs.
This incident has undoubtedly given rise to concern about whether the right safety checks are being undertaken and if sufficient information is being given to transplant patients.
Both patients are now considering legal action.
If you believe you have received treatment which is below a reasonable standard of care, we have a dedicated team of clinical negligence solicitors who would be happy to help you. Call us now for free initial advice on 01616 966 229.