Clinical Negligence & Catastrophic Injury Solicitors
Tragic transplant deaths.
Two transplant patients died after receiving kidneys from the same alcoholic donor which other hospitals had turned down, an inquest has heard.
Robert Stuart, 67, from Cardiff, and Darren Hughes, 42, from Bridgend, underwent transplants at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW), Cardiff, last year.
The pair died days apart and laboratory tests later showed they had been infected with the deadly parasitic worm halcephalobus, which a pathologist believes came from their organ donor.
There have only been five previous cases of the parasite in humans - all of which have proved fatal.
Cardiff Coroner's Court was told a post-mortem had not been carried out on the 39-year-old organ donor from Manchester - who doctors said had died from a suspected viral infection.
- inquest heard doubts over the cause of the man's death prompted seven hospitals to reject his organs - including transplant units in Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, and Sheffield.
Relatives of the two dead men said they would never have given their consent for the operation to go ahead had they known more. Mr Stuart's widow, Judith, said she had been surprised at how quickly her husband had been offered a new kidney after two false starts.
Both men died in mid December 2013. For father-of-three Mr Hughes, it was his third transplant, while it was Mr Stuart's first.
Initial tests after their deaths proved inconclusive, but histopathologist Dr Fauod Alchami later found both men's brains were swollen - a finding in keeping with meningoencephalitis a form of meningitis.
He said on the "balance of probabilities", the parasitic worms found in the men came from their donated kidney. Dr Alchami added neither Mr Hughes or Mr Stuart had any links with horses - where the parasites are sometimes found - nor any links with each other.
He also said this was the first ever known case of human-to-human transmission involving halcephalobus.
UHW specialist transplant nurse Dawn Chapman told the hearing the donor organs had been offered to hospitals under a so-called fast track scheme. She said the kidneys were initially deemed as having "poor function" - something which was not out of the ordinary given that other organs can go on and regenerate in a recipient.
Ms Chapman said the fact other hospitals had declined the offer of the organs had only come to light following the men's deaths. She said changes had since been made where surgeons can find out whether organs they may use for transplants have been turned down by other hospitals.