The NHS have apologised to patients’ who contracted cancer through being transplanted with kidneys from a donor who had a rare form of blood cancer.
It is understood the kidneys donated to Rob Law and Gillian Smart would have been rejected by their surgeon, had they been aware of the full donor information.
Mr Law was suffering with end stage kidney disease, for which he required dialysis or a transplant. He initially planned to receive a kidney from his sister, Susan. However, Mr Law was contacted by the hospital beforehand, and advised a kidney had become available from a deceased donor, which was available immediately. Mr Law agreed to receive the kidney as he thought it would save his sister having to go through with the operation to donate hers.
The donor’s cancer was not picked up in routine safety checks, and also failed to be detected in a post mortem examination. Pathologists later discovered that the donor had been suffering from intravascular B cell lymphoma, a rare, but aggressive form of cancer.
Ms Hamlyn, Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Hospital said the cause of the error was ‘human mistake, which was dreadful for all concerned’. It is thought that the cancer may not have been detected due to it being a particularly rare strain.
Mr Law says that although he was anxious about going through with the procedure, he felt at ease in view of the assurance he was provided that the kidney had gone through a process of stringent checks and tests. Mr Law was not specifically told that one of the risks of the transplant included a risk of being given a diseased kidney, or contracting cancer.
Mr Law and Ms Smart are currently undergoing chemotherapy in order to eradicate the disease. Mr Law says he is encouraged by their apology and felt that it is a step forward. He also says he raised awareness of the error as he was ‘concerned that nobody should have to go through what has happened to me’.
If you think you think you may have been affected by a medical mistake, Swain and Co have a specialist medical negligence team who can be contacted for free initial advice on 02392 483322.