NHS: Only two pa­tients given or­gans from donor

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS - By Mar­ion Scott [email protected]

The NHS trans­plant ser­vice yes­ter­day said no other pa­tient re­ceived or­gan or tis­sue from the donor whose or­gans gave can­cer to two trans­plant pa­tients. Tom Tyre­man died in Fe­bru­ary af­ter his new liver gave him can­cer while Pauline Hunt has been di­ag­nosed with the same dis­ease af­ter re­ceiv­ing a kid­ney from the same donor. Pauline and hus­band Gor­don, who got mar­ried while she was in hos­pi­tal, only knew an­other trans­plant pa­tient had died be­cause sur­geons in Glas­gow had to rush to re­move her new kid­ney. Mr Tyre­man’s widow Judy said: “Pauline and Gor­don knew about us, but we did not know an­other fam­ily was in­volved un­til the in­quest in Septem­ber. We only learned it was Pauline and Gor­don last week. We were kept in the dark. Com­pletely in the dark.”

Pro­fes­sor John Forsythe, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for Or­gan Do­na­tion and Trans­plan­ta­tion at NHS Blood and Trans­plant, said ev­ery pos­si­ble test was done on do­nated or­gans in the time avail­able. Yes­ter­day, the NHS Blood and Trans­plant ser­vice said no other or­gans had been trans­planted from the donor. A spokesman said: “Our re­search has found the risk of trans­mis­sion of a pre­vi­ously un­di­ag­nosed can­cer from a donor to a re­cip­i­ent is less than 1 in 2,000 or­gans trans­planted. “We can con­firm that an in­ves­ti­ga­tion found all pro­cesses were fol­lowed cor­rectly in this do­na­tion.”

Andy Welch, med­i­cal di­rec­tor for New­cas­tle NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, which runs the Free­man Hos­pi­tal, said Mr Tyre­man’s fam­ily’s con­cerns were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, adding: “This in­ves­ti­ga­tion is cur­rently on-go­ing and the full out­come will be dis­cussed with them on com­ple­tion.”

‘ Know­ing about Tom has made this dou­ble tragedy more painful

Tragic trans­plant pa­tient Pauline Hunt yes­ter­day told of her tears af­ter hear­ing of the loss en­dured by the fam­ily of Tom Tyre­man.

He died af­ter get­ting can­cer from his new liver and Pauline, who was given a kid­ney from the same donor, has been di­ag­nosed with the same ag­gres­sive can­cer.

She said: “I’ve known since sur­geons were forced to re­move my kid­ney in Fe­bru­ary that an­other trans­plant pa­tient had died. “Ac­tu­ally learn­ing about Tom and his fam­ily has made it so much harder to ac­cept.

“I’ve been in tears think­ing about them all and how they are cop­ing with los­ing him the way they did. “Know­ing about them per­son­ally has made this dou­ble tragedy so much more painful.” Pauline, who has two grown chil­dren and her par­ents to think of as well as her hus­band Gor­don, 58, and his fam­ily, said speak­ing to Tom’s fam­ily has made them all even more de­ter­mined to have the truth made pub­lic. She said: “Now we know even more of the cir­cum­stances about what hap­pened to Tom, all of us are even an­grier be­cause now we be­lieve we were de­lib­er­ately kept in the dark to min­imise the se­ri­ous­ness of what hap­pened to spare the NHS and those re­spon­si­ble.

“Of course it’s im­por­tant that pa­tients and donors have con­fi­dence in the sys­tem but the way to do that is be­ing open and ac­count­able when things go wrong.

“Tom fought so bravely to stay alive for his fam­ily, and I am fac­ing the same bat­tle to stay alive for mine. Liv­ing with a death sen­tence makes ev­ery day pre­cious, but ev­ery day is also so very hard for me and the peo­ple I love.” Pauline’s hus­band Gor­don said: “Both fam­i­lies now have many more ques­tions that need to be an­swered. “My fo­cus right now is to make sure Pauline has ev­ery­thing she needs to make what is left of her life as com­fort­able as pos­si­ble.

“But I will go to my grave fight­ing to make sure ev­ery sin­gle thing is in­ves­ti­gated and made pub­lic.

“None of us will be fobbed off any longer. It is not good enough for the doc­tors to sim­ply say ev­ery­thing was done and that there are no lessons to be learned. That should not be their de­ci­sion and politi­cians at West­min­ster or Holy­rood should be ar­rang­ing a proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion into what has hap­pened here.”

He added: “Peo­ple need to be as­sured the pro­ce­dures for choos­ing trans­plant donors are as safe as they can be, and that the pro­to­cols in place are as ro­bust as pos­si­ble.”

Pauline said: “All we were told was there could be an in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing can­cer some years down the line be­cause of drug treat­ments, not that can­cer could be passed on from a donor or­gan.”

Mr Tyre­man’s sis­ter, Jane, said: “We were told the same. There was no warn­ing an or­gan could pass on can­cer. We are just grate­ful Pauline and her fam­ily are as de­ter­mined as we are to get the truth.

“Dur­ing Tom’s in­quest, his trans­plant sur­geon Pro­fes­sor Derek Manas gave ev­i­dence, but we were not al­lowed to ques­tion him. We now have many ques­tions we would like an­swered by him and oth­ers, and we will fight to make sure that hap­pens.” Pauline’s lawyer Cameron Fyfe added he has been struck by the sim­i­lar­i­ties in the way both fam­i­lies have been treated. He said: “It ap­pears both fam­i­lies say they were never told of the risk of can­cer from their or­gan donor.

“The very least they all de­serve now is com­plete trans­parency and all their ques­tions an­swered.”

Trans­plant pa­tient Pauline and Gor­don on their wed­ding day

Prof Forsythe

Pic­ture An­drew Caw­ley

Pauline Hunt, at home in Ayr­shire, says she was not prop­erly in­formed of the risks

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