Iraq war veteran Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, of the Queen’s Royal Lancers, thought that he had beaten the odds when he was told that the hospital had located two new lungs for transplant after his lungs were destroyed by an incurable lung condition. However, instead of dying of the original condition, he died of lung cancer. The two lungs transplanted in his body came from a smoker who had a habit of 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day. Millington who served in the army since his 16th birthday told his wife, “They’ve given me a dud pair” before he died of lung cancer in February.
Papworth Hospital in Cambridge insists that x-ray exams did not see the cancer and defended the practice of using the lungs of smokers.
The tumor itself was small but the drugs used to ensure acceptance of the lungs actually sped up its growth. He went through painful radiation and cancer treatment but died six months later.
We have seen cases of cancerous or tainted organs in transplant operations in this country, here and here. With new technology, it is hard to see how such transplants are not clear acts of malpractice. Moreover, I fail to see why the use of lungs by heavy smokers is not negligence by the hospital. This is like transplanting a cirrhotic liver from an alcoholic. In the United States, the hospital would be looking at a massive lawsuit.
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