£6.4m for kidney op blunder man

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The Independent Online

A man who nearly died during an operation to donate a kidney to his father has won £6.74 million High Court damages.

The 39-year-old - who can only be identified as XYZ - had paid "a very great price" for his generous act, Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC told Mr Justice Spencer in London.

While donating his right kidney in February 2008, he suffered irreversible left kidney failure which meant that he, in turn, needed a transplant from his sister.

XYZ's own life had been shortened by about 10 years and he had to suffer the trauma of dialysis, considerable health problems and the prospect of future deterioration with the inevitability of another transplant.

Liability was admitted by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust on the basis that the surgeon, who is the subject of proceedings before the General Medical Council, was not only negligent but to a degree reckless.

But the Trust disputed the "potentially enormous" compensation involved - XYZ had claimed £14 million - particularly relating to loss of future earnings and medical expenses.

The judge said the consequences for XYZ, a dynamic and extremely hard-working professional and father-of-two, had been "catastrophic" - physically, psychologically, emotionally and financially.

Ms Gumbel said XYZ had wanted to give his father a better quality of life in retirement.

"The donation of the kidney was successfully achieved but at a great cost to the claimant who, during the course of the operation, suffered torrential, life-threatening haemorrhaging."

XYZ had been shattered by the experience.

"He faces a life filled with considerable uncertainty. He is understandably obsessed by his health. He remains on edge as to whether the kidney will be rejected."

Nerve damage led to foot surgery which left him unable to run, and he would always need organ rejection suppressant drugs which carried significant risks.

Ruling that XYZ's identity should not be disclosed, the judge said the circumstances were so exceptional that his naming would be likely to have a devastating effect on the family.

The judge said that XYZ's wife was also seriously affected and had received damages from the trust for psychological injury.

"The claimant and his wife have two very young children who have already been seriously affected by the events and their father's disabilities and illness."

The judge said the incident had also put a great strain on the man's relationship with his mother and father and had a catastrophic effect on the personal circumstances of his sister.