Minister says all tests were done as probe calls escalate
Health Minister Jeane Freeman ordered an immediate inquiry after being told transplant patients had been given lethal cancer by a donor’s organs.
But the Holyrood minister yesterday said that, after receiving assurances from the transplant service, she was satisfied every possible check had been carried out properly.
A spokeswoman for the minister said: “We have been very clear that any necessary lessons should be learned from this very tragic case. NHS Blood and Transplant have sought to assure us that an appropriate investigation has been carried out with all the parties involved.
“Specialist medical staff undertake rigorous checks and tests for all organ transplants, which include detailed checks in advance of the donor and their family’s medical history and careful examination of the organ by the retrieval and transplanting surgeons.
“These processes are balanced with the necessity for a limited time frame for the transplant to take place. Despite this, we understand that sadly nothing that could have been done in this case which would have enabled the cancer to have been detected prior to transplantation.”
However, there were calls for a fuller inquiry into the tragedy yesterday. Scottish Conservative Shadow Health Secretary Miles Briggs said both Tom, Pauline, and their families had not been told the truth quickly enough.
He said: “There seems to have been some secrecy here which should not be happening particularly when Tom had lost his life and Pauline is living with cancer because of what happened to them both.
”Thankfully cases like these are incredibly rare, but we must ensure the system is safe and procedures are robust enough to prevent it happening again where possible.
“There are lots of questions that still need to be answered, and we must be assured families are told the truth and told quickly.”
Health Minister Jeane Freeman