Woman died after being given smoker's lungs

The Government's "transplant tsar" insisted today that organ transplants were carried out on the basis of whether they would work - after it emerged that a cystic fibrosis sufferer died after receiving the lungs of a long-term smoker.

Chris Rudge, national clinical director for transplantation, said smoking was not the "issue" in the case of cystic fibrosis sufferer Lyndsey Scott, whose family have lodged a complaint after she received a double lung transplant from a 30-year smoker.

The 28-year-old, from Wigan, underwent the double transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester in January last year and died in the July from pneumonia.

Her family have said they were not told that the donor smoked - and she would have been "horrified" to discover the organs were from a smoker of 30 years.

Mr Rudge, who said he did not know the "full details" of the case, and was speaking more generally, insisted that it mattered "far more" if lungs were working properly than if they were from a smoker.

"Lungs from a smoker can be working perfectly normally and be perfectly suitable for transplantation lungs from a non-smoker can not be working and not be suitable for transplantation," he told BBC Breakfast.

"Surgeons have to make decisions - about four out of every five lungs that become available for transplantation are not used because they are not working well enough.

"It is nothing to do with the history of the donor, it is whether the organ is working or not, whether it is going to produce a successful transplant or not, and, in this particular case, smoking isn't the issue."

He added that people who go on the waiting list for transplants must be told that human organs that become available are not "brand new", perfect organs.

He added that surgeons and the patient should also discuss and come to a consensus if a particular organ carries particular risks - but that surgeons were working within tight time constraints.

Miss Scott is said to have undergone the transplant surgery to prolong her life after her condition deteriorated.

Her family were reported to have found out that the lungs came from a long-term smoker after applying for the medical notes on the operation.

"I can honestly say she would have been horrified to have known those lungs were from a smoker and quite definitely she would have refused that operation," Allan Scott, her father, told the BBC.

"I understand that in human organs there is no such thing as a perfect organ.

"It's not like if you have something wrong with your car and your car breaks - you get a new part for that car. There are no new parts for organs, I appreciate that."

A spokeswoman for the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM) said it had followed national guidelines.

A statement from the trust said it would not be able to comment on the case while the trust responds to an official complaint made by the family.

"At UHSM we follow guidelines for organ retrieval which are based on the national guidelines set by UKTS (the UK Transplant Service) formerly, now NHSBT (NHS Blood and Transplant).

"The issue of recipient choice has also been thoroughly reviewed in our unit in the past 12 months.

"There is a standard criteria for accepting a donor organ(s), on the basis on clinical evidence, which forms part of the discussion with patients at their assessment.

"Because the number of lung donors is extremely low and 30% of lung recipients die before getting a transplant, UHSM and other transplant centres have extended their criteria.

"This is increasing the number of viable lungs available for donation that are still considered to be 'safe'.

"In the event that there are factors or issues surrounding the donor which are deemed to make the donation of higher risk, we will discuss these concerns directly with the recipient, e.g. drug use or a particular event in the donor's life.

"At UHSM we have an excellent track record in successful organ transplantation and our programme has one of the lowest early mortality rates in the UK."

Joyce Robins, co-director of Patient Concern, told BBC Breakfast: "Most patients would say that they should be informed of any pertinent fact. If the family are saying that she would have refused a transplant had she known, then that is an important issue."

She added: "You can't buy a pair of nice new organs from a shelf.

"They have all been used somehow, and therefore it is viability that is important, it is for the surgeon to put that to the patient and say 'We believe that these are good lungs and they will do you well'.

"It is for the patient to say ' Well, OK, I'll take my chance, that is fine'... or to say 'No, thank you, I would prefer not to do that'."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

    £16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence