Saturday, April 02, 2011

New guidance after organ patient Lynsey Scott's death

I did a post about this last fall and noted that the recipient's family filed a complaint with the British transplant office. As government decisions go this is quite a rapid response.

New guidelines for transplant patients have been introduced after the death of a woman from Greater Manchester who was given the lungs of a smoker.

BBC News Manchester

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Lynsey Scott, from Wigan, was not told of the condition of the organs she received.

Since her death, her family have campaigned for patients to be given information about potential donors.

New guidelines have now been ratified by NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Transplantation Society.

Miss Scott, 28, was given a double lung transplant at Wythenshawe Hospital in February 2009 but died months later.

It was only after her death, her family learned her organ donor had been a smoker for 30 years.

Miss Scott's father Allan is adamant his daughter would have rejected the transplant had she known the lungs were those of a smoker.

"A lot of people on the transplant list at this moment would, in all probability, say: 'Well, I've only got six months left to live, I'll take that chance.'

"But it's their choice, it's their decision, no-one else's and that's all we've ever asked for."

Previously, the only specific guidelines were from the British Transplantation Society and the information shared about a donor's medical history varied from clinician to clinician.

NHS Blood and Transplant said that, for the first time, that information would be offered to all patients to inform them as to "the benefits and risks of transplantation".

Associate medical director Prof James Neuberger said he accepted the guidelines should incorporate patients' wishes.

'Difficult time'
"Consent should be a process and it should start when the patient is being assessed for transplantation so that information is given over time and in a form that the patient can understand," he said.

"Of course they're stressed, they're ill, they're anxious, they're worried and it's a very difficult time for them.

"But people have to get the information ... and then have time to make those decisions to make sure what they decide is right for them."

The new guidance is to be published on both the NHS Blood and Transplant and the British Transplantation Society websites.

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