03-02-2012, 02:43 PM
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Patients Given Cancer Infected Kidneys
Two transplant patients were forced to undergo six cycles of chemotherapy after a botched NHS operation gave them kidneys infected with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Robert Law and Gillian Smart ended up with the diseased kidneys after the donated organs were not checked properly before they were sent to the patients.
The near-fatal error was made at a donor hospital by a member of staff employed by NHSBT in November 2010.
The kidneys were sent the Royal Liverpool University Hospital who were unaware of their provenance.
The pair are to receive compensation packages after the NHS yesterday admitted negligence.
Its body that oversees transplants said ‘human error’ by a specialist nurse who had not completed her training was partly to blame for the mistake.
Lynda Hamlyn, from NHS Blood and Transplant, yesterday offered ‘sincere and unreserved apologies’ to the pair who were told of the error days after their operations.
Mrs Smart, 47, said that she was ‘devastated’ when she was told about the transplant. The mother of two said: ‘The result has been psychologically and physically draining.
‘Before the chemo and everything I was dress size 12, now I am a 22. My hair has grown back brunette – I was blonde before.’
Mr Law, 60, who launched a legal action in March 2011, said he wanted a report to be published to ensure the error never happens again.
He said: ‘Over the last 15 months I have suffered in many ways, physically and mentally, including weight gain, muscle wastage and depression.’
The father-of-four added: ‘Revealing how this was allowed to happen would ensure that medical professionals throughout the UK can learn from the mistakes made and ensure better care in the future.’
‘I also feel strongly that the NHS trusts involved should publish a comprehensive report stating what measures have been taken to minimise the risk of a recurrence.’
To compound their agony, both had been preparing to undergo live kidney transplants from their respective sisters – who were perfectly healthy – but decided to accept the donor organs to spare their relatives the trauma of surgery.
Mr Law, from Birkenhead, said: ‘When I woke up from the operation I felt very emotional because I thought “I’ve arrived, I’m going to get back to normal life and get back to work again”.
‘Six days later I was told I had cancer. Given that I had a live donor who had been tested, why was I given a cancer-infected kidney from someone else?’
Mrs Smart, from St Helens, added: ‘It was like I was in a scene from TV or a film. You think “Come on”. It has got to be the biggest joke going.’
The NHS said that the transplant team was not informed that the kidneys contained B-cell lymphona.
Mr Law and Mrs Smart have been told there was no sign of cancer after their chemotherapy – but they will undergo further scans for confirmation.