We have previously seen tragic cases of cancerous organs being used for transplants. The latest transplant victim is Jennifer Wederell, 27, of Essex England, a woman
born with cystic fibrosis. She was given a lung transplant, but it appears the donor was a smoker. Wederell then died from lung cancer on August 24 — 16 months after received the diseased lung.
Wederell was never told that the donor was a smoker. She had been waiting for 18 months when she was told that the hospital was a match. She was never given a choice to wait longer for non-snoker donor. She was diagnosed within a year with lung cancer. These transplants tend to come with long waivers saying that there is no guarantee of the condition of the organ or prior habits of donors. However, this would seem gross negligence by the hospital and in the very least a failure to obtain informed consent.
England however is very different from the U.S. in the torts area. On informed consent, the English courts have proven quite hostile to U.S. rules of liability. This is a case where some liability could be an effective deterrent and prompt more disclosure by hospitals.
Do you think that there should be liability in such cases?
25 thoughts on “English Woman Develops Lung Cancer After Hospital Uses Smoker’s Lung In Transplant”
Sorry clicked too soon
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Jen was not in any immediate danger on the eve of her transplant. So much so that I was away on business in Barcelona. She got the call at 10.30pm but the transplant did not take place until 6.30am the following morning. We assume the doctors were cleaning out the lungs during this time. The doctors came and sat on her bed and talked through (again) all the risks. Jen understood and accepted them all. This was the moment to explain the donor history. Why didn’t they do this? One can only speculate. Jen had no need to take those lungs. She abhorred smoking, the donor turned out to be more than twice her age and “admitted” to 20 a day smoking. Every cigarette packet in the UK carries the legend Smoking Kills – it makes no sense. However we have to get something positive out of this and get the public engaged to debate how we get more donors for the benefit of everyone. My fear is that there is already another Jennifer out there as recent government statistics reveal 40% of all UK lung transplants use smokers lungs. That cannot be right.
As a heart transplant survivor, thus far two years out and especially as a father of daughters I mourn with you. The protocol in the U.S. has been for years that you will be told of the donor’s history, such as is known and thus have the ability to reject a proffered transplant. Jennifer should have been told of the risks beforehand. This was especially true since you now explain that she was in no immediate danger and my have been able to wait for another donor. It seems from the information given that the procedure was changed before her transplant and that makes the story worse. While I’ve mentioned the U.S. protocol, one of the things I’ve learned from my own medical history is that many health care professionals often don’t perform up to standards. This was tragically the case for your beloved daughter. She seemed to be a remarkable young woman with so much to give in her life. My words of comfort I know would be inadequate balm for the pain those who love her suffer at her loss. My empathy is all that I can inadequately offer and the assurance that my support for your efforts to change the system will be provided by my publicizing Jennifer’s story in the various transplant groups that I belong to.
A most sad but exemplary case. It was respectfully and responsibly discussed. A few questions if I may.
Whether of not the latest weeks old regulations were followed is an open question of questionable merit there in UK it would appear. We have no clear answer as to that and related questions.
Someone can perhaps answer if there are alternative choices in immunodepressants. ???? Giving less depression of the cancer suppressing capability of the body.
A technical question: Is it the first line of defense of the immune system or the second which are involved?
Swedes like UK has a single payer system with no civil suit possibilities as the laws stand now. Pay for private out of your pocket or if they are connected and will accept the state fee established, then some cost can be recovered.
Thanks to NickS and Mike f out anor bringing out an important aspect in relationships. Ball-busting is acceptable in fine salons and can be used (preferably) with love between friends.
One of the first if not the first artivicial heart patients was a rarity in two ways, He was Swedish and it was in Sweden—–but he also was a billionaire (infamously so in finance).
We are so grateful that we have you with us MikeS.
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