Manchester

Wigan transplant patient given lungs of 30-year smoker

Lynsey Scott
Image caption Lynsey Scott died a few months after her lung transplant

The father of a woman who died after a double lung transplant said she would have been "horrified" to discover the organs were from a smoker of 30 years.

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Lynsey Scott, of Wigan, died months after surgery at Wythenshawe Hospital last year.

Allan Scott said she was not told that the donor smoked and is calling for patients to be given more information.

The University Hospital of South Manchester (UHSM) NHS Trust said it had followed national guidelines.

Ms Scott, 28, who was born with cystic fibrosis, underwent the surgery in February 2009 to prolong her life after her condition deteriorated.

She died a few months later in July. Tests later concluded the primary cause of death was pneumonia.

It was after applying for the medical notes on the transplant that Ms Scott's family discovered the donor was a smoker, although there is no suggestion this contributed to her death.

"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," 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."

Mr Scott's daughter was given so-called "marginal" organs, or organs which are deemed to be of higher risk, but still considered safe.

"We understand the need for the use of marginal organs - that is not the issue," Mr Scott, 57, added.

"The issue is that the use of these organs should be told to the patients themselves by the clinicians.

"They should be made aware at the beginning of the transplant assessment phase, it should be in the information booklets and it should be explained to them at the time."

The UHSM NHS Trust said it could not comment on Ms Scott's case while it responds to a complaint from the family.

But is said clinicians followed guidelines for organ retrieval set out by the National Blood and Transplant Service (NHSBT).

Criteria extended

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

"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."

Figures disclosed to the BBC's File on 4 programme last year revealed that in 1998 13% of donor organs were "marginal" and 10 years later this percentage had doubled.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Guidance is available that sets out the risks and benefits of when an organ should be used.

"Ultimately this is a decision for the clinician, the patient and, should the patient wish, their family.

"Any decision should always be made after full discussion with the patient so they understand all aspects of the prepared treatment."

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