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Inquiry launched after transplant patients get cancer

22nd March 2011

NHS Blood and Transplant is carrying out an inquiry to determine how two transplant patients were diagnosed with cancer after being given organs from the same donor.

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Both patients were given a kidney each from a woman who had a kind of blood cancer that had not been found during safety screenings.

The cancer was found during a post-mortem, but by that time the transplants had already gone ahead and the patients were found to have the cancer.

NHSBT said their investigation would find out how widespread the issue was on a national level.

The original donor died at the age of 56 from a brain haemorrhage and was discovered to suffer from intravascular B-cell lymphoma.

The two patients who received the transplants were Rob Law, 59, and Gillian Smart, 46, who had their operations performed at the Royal Liverpool Hospitals. The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals Trust is carrying out the inquiry with NHSBT.

The Royal Liverpool's medical director Dr Peter Williams said: "When the kidneys were transplanted, the surgical team were completely unaware that the donor could have cancer."

"It was only days later when a post-mortem was carried out that we discovered the donor's condition. This is a very difficult and distressing time for Rob and Gillian, and we continue to offer full support, care and treatment to them."

 

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