Monday, January 10, 2011

UK man, 66 "too old’ for a life-saving transplant"

This story got my attention immediately because I personally know quite a few patients who received lung transplants in their 70's and have done quite well. Most centers have stopped using age as a criteria but rather assess each individual on their physical condition and the potential for an optimal outcome to a lung transplant.

from This Is Lancashire
A MAN claims he has been handed a “death sentence” after health chiefs took him off the waiting list for a double lung transplant.

Bill Clark, aged 66, has been told he has between 12 and 18 months to live without the procedure.

The grandfather-of-two, who is seriously ill with lung fibrosis, claims doctors told him he is too old for the operation.

Bosses at Wythenshawe Hospital, which cares for him along with the Royal Bolton Hospital, say they take a range of factors, including age, into account and Mr Clark is no longer suitable for surgery.

Mr Clark, who is married to Barbara, said: “They have given me a death sentence and I am devastated.

I don’t think 66 is old, I’m a fit person and someone at 40 might not do as well as me, everyone is an individual and it shouldn’t be about age.

They don’t seem to care and they’re not giving me a chance. I feel like I am just waiting to die.”

The retired employee of Bury’s primary care trust has been on the transplant list for three years, after developing lung fibrosis in 2004. He is now housebound, uses a wheelchair and is hooked up to oxygen 24 hours a day.

The family, of Duchy Avenue, Over Hulton, has already suffered tragedy, after the couple’s daughter, Gail, died at the age of five in 1976. She suffered a massive brain haemorrhage and her parents donated her kidneys.

Mr Clark, who also has a son, Paul, said: “I am prepared to take any chance to have a normal life. I put into the NHS for 48 years and this is the first thing I have wanted, I feel let down.

“They wanted me to lose weight which is difficult on steroids. I have, and I can get down more given time, I’ll do anything. We’re all upset and there’s nothing we can do.”

The hospital says the decision is not made by one person but a team of experts, who look at a number of factors.

A spokesman said: “He wasn’t taken off the register purely because of his age, his risk profile was considered to be quite high.

“We consider a number of things, age, weight, lack of mobilisation and the particular disease. There are national and international guidelines that anyone over 65 is at higher risk but it’s not always what we stand by, we have done a transplant on a 67-year-old.

“For this particular gentleman there were a number of reasons his risk profile was too high.”

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1 comment:

The Second Chance Sheepdog said...

Age discrimination - pure and simple.