Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy Holidays to all and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. Congratulations to those who received their life-saving organ transplant in 2012  and to patients waiting for theirs our thoughts and prayers are with you in the hope you will receive your gift of life soon. A huge thank you to our donors and donor families for saving our lives.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Woman dies after being given a lung transplant from a smoker

Jennifer's Story

Jennifer was born on 12th June 1985 with Cystic Fibrosis. The symptoms of the disease meant she would have a life that would last no longer than her late teens.

As a child Jennifer was happy, bright and optimistic. She became an exceptional student and went on to complete a University degree, along with an MA. She always had an unfaltering fighting spirit and with the advent of improved medication, her life expectancy was extended. Jennifer Wederell, 27, died of cancer on August 24 at her home in Hawkwell, Essex, 16 months after being given a lung transplant at Harefield Hospital in London.

A woman born with cystic fibrosis who died after being given a lung transplant from a smoker.  Her father is now calling for hospitals to tell patients about a donor's health history.

Jennifer Wederell, 27, died of cancer on August 24 at her home in Hawkwell, Essex, 16 months after being given the transplant at Harefield Hospital in London.

She was not told at the time of the transplant that the middle-aged donor had been a smoker.

Now Jennifer's father, Colin Grannell, says people facing organ transplants should be told of any adverse history from the donor that might affect a successful transplant.

He says he does not think his daughter would have agreed to the transplant if she had known the full facts.

The hospital says it is sorry she was not given the choice.

Wederell, who was on oxygen for 24 hours a day by her mid-20s, had been on the waiting list for a lung transplant for 18 months when she was told there was a match in April 2011.

She received the transplant and married her long-term boyfriend, David, that same year.
But by February, less than a year after the operation, Wederell had been diagnosed with cancer, with the terrible news that it had spread.

"The shock immediately turned to anger in so far as all the risks were explained in the hour before her transplant and not once was the fact that a smoker's lungs would be used mentioned," Grannell told the Daily Mail.

"She was dying a death that was meant for someone else."

Grannell has set up a Facebook site, Jennifer's Choice, to encourage non-smokers to sign up to the organ donor register.

Read more:

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ontario, Canada improves transplant wait times

By Barbara Turnbull 
Life Reporter The Toronto Star

Amidst the controversial revelations in Wednesday’s report from Auditor General Jim McCarter, there was good news for those awaiting organ transplants.
Two years ago, McCarter slammed the province for “serious deficiencies,” highlighting seven key areas for improvement. But his update, included with this year’s report, is decidedly more positive.
His call for Ontario-wide wait lists for kidneys and livers has already been implemented for livers and will be in place for kidneys next year. Previously, livers were separated between London and Toronto; kidneys are still divided into five regional wait lists, so organs aren’t allocated to the highest-priority recipient across the province.
That has contributed to wildly differing wait times across the province — from four years for a kidney in areas such as London and Sudbury, where donor rates reach as high as 44 per cent, to nine years in the GTA, which has a donor rate of 14 per cent.
Amalgamating those lists into one will begin in June. As of then, every pair of kidneys from a deceased donor will be divided: one will remain local and one will go to the highest priority case provincially. And by the end of 2013, there will only be a provincial list, says Ronnie Gavsie, CEO of Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN), the provincial agency mandated with organ and tissue donor system. “We expect wait times to go dramatically down (as a result),” she said.
The 2010 report also noted that only 21 hospitals capable of keeping patients on life support were required to alert TGLN of these potential donors. That number has now doubled from 21 to 45, with the rest of the 61 hospitals phasing in by March of 2014.
In addition, it’s now mandatory for all hospital departments to report potential donors, not just intensive care units and emergency departments, as it was previously. That’s expected to also increase donations of tissue like corneas, bones, skin and heart valves, another of McCarter’s concerns in 2010. Currently Ontario imports 80 per cent of its tissue.
Two other recommendations have already been implemented: the Be a Donor website was created, and ServiceOntario employees now ask people renewing their driver’s licence for their consent.
Gavsie gives McCarter credit for the push. “There is positive movement forward, in every recommendation,” she says.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ohio hospital that threw away viable kidney to resume kidney transplants

An Ohio hospital where an operating nurse accidentally disposed of a viable kidney will resume live kidney transplants in the next few weeks, officials said Tuesday.

Live kidney transplants at the University of Toledo Medical Center had been voluntarily halted after the Aug. 10 incident. After numerous reviews and some policy changes, the hospital's decision to restart the program was affirmed last week by the United Network of Organ Sharing, according to Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs at the university.

The hospital apologized and put two nurses and an administrator of surgical services on paid leave after a donated kidney apparently was put with medical waste instead of going to the intended recipient in what medical experts described as a rare accident.

The hospital had, the following week, resumed deceased donor transplants - where an organ is harvested from a dead person and given to a live person - but voluntarily suspended the live program, where a kidney from a live donor is donated to a live recipient, pending internal and external reviews of the program.

Gold said the reviews resulted in procedural changes that officials believe will keep the mistake from happening again.

"Today we complete the next step in a difficult journey, but one I think unquestionably made us a stronger, safer hospital," Gold said.

Gold said the hospital has stayed in close communication with those affected by the error and remains committed to their medical care.

The hospital, citing privacy laws, hasn't named the man who donated the kidney and the intended recipient, his sister, and won't say whether she received a different kidney.

A report by a surgeon hired by the hospital to review its transplant program called it "baffling" that the nurse would accidentally put the viable kidney with medical waste, but found no problems with the systems or the culture at the hospital that would have indicated it was at risk for such a mistake.

Another report conducted by the state for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said poor oversight and communication, and insufficient policies were factors in the kidney's disposal.

UTMC has performed about 1,700 kidney transplants in the past 40 years, with a 98 percent success rate.

Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ. More than 5,700 kidney transplants involving living donors and 11,000 with deceased donors were performed last year in the U.S. UTMC performed 16 of those living-donor kidney transplants and 37 deceased-donor transplants in 2011.

"This is very much a signature program of our university," Gold said.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said teaching hospitals such as UTMC "have an obligation to share what happened with the medical community so we can all learn and improve."

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Friday, December 07, 2012

Liver recipient sent home with surgical mat inside him

Transplant patient sent home from hospital with A4-sized surgical mat still inside him 

  • Michael O'Sullivan, 49, had a CT scan three weeks after his liver transplant after he complained of pain

  • A second operation revealed that a silicone mat had been left inside him during the earlier operation

  • It was a 'never event' - a hospital incident that should never happen
  • Lawyer who won him £7,000 compensation said it had been 'basic carelessness'

A fish-shaped lapromat, like the one pictured, was left inside Mr O'Sullivan
A fish-shaped lapromat, like the one pictured, was left inside Mr O'Sullivan

A liver transplant patient was sewn up with an A4-sized piece of surgical equipment left inside him, after a series of medical blunders.

Michael O'Sullivan, 49, received a new liver at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, but was sent home with a silicone mat still inside him.

It was only discovered after Mr O'Sullivan complained of suffering from a lot of pain following surgery. Doctors performed a CT scan three weeks later and decided to operate after spotting something unusual. Mr O'Sullivan was shocked to be told they had discovered the equipment inside him following the operation.

He has now won £7,000 in compensation from the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The award comes after Addenbrooke’s was heavily criticized by health watchdog Monitor, which cited a series of so-called ‘never events’ - incidents that simply shouldn't happen - as one of its major failings.

Personal injury lawyers Slater and Gordon said the ordeal had been 'incredibly stressful' for their London-based client and could have put his health at risk.

Paul Sankey, Principal Lawyer at Slater and Gordon, told Mail Online: 'The hospital's own investigation says that the cause of the incident was the failure correctly to record that an item from the instrument set was in use, not recognising that it had not been removed and failure correctly to complete the count at the end of the procedure. 

'The normal rule is - count in, count out. The root cause was said to be the breakdown of routine checking procedures. In other words this was not, like most surgical mistakes, an error of judgment in the exercise of a difficult skill but really basic carelessness.

'I deal with medical negligence claims day in day out. In my experience mistakes quite as blatant as this are extremely rare.'

Rebecca Brown, from the same firm, added: 'When we go to hospital for surgery, we rightly expect the highest standards of healthcare and professionalism. These standards were not upheld when Michael had his liver transplant at Addenbrooke’s.
The award of compensation is a relief for someone whose health could have been endangered by this carelessness.

'We hope that the resolution of this case, as well of those of others who have brought actions against Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, will serve to protect patients in the future.'

A spokesman for Addenbrooke’s said: 'We deeply regret this incident and have apologized to the patient.

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Monday, December 03, 2012

Older Age limits viable in lung transplantation

Doctors told Peter Nicosia, 81, who was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, he was too old for lung replacement. That was in 2009 at the age of 78.
Tampa-area lung transplant patients, past and future, celebrate life

T1203 LUNG JR 001
Christina Mabe, lead nurse in the T.G.H. Lung Transplant Unit, gives a hug to transplant recipient Derek Goody and his wife Rose Marie as Mabe sells raffle tickets at the annual One Breath at a Time Lung Transplant Support Group holiday party. The event helps to raise money for the Butterfly House, a place where patients and their families can stay while undergoing the months long procedure.

Doctors told Peter Nicosia, who was suffering from pulmonary fibrosis, he was too old for lung replacement.
That was in 2009.
Sunday, the 81-year-old joined fellow lung-transplant survivors and others waiting for transplants in The Regent ballroom for the ninth One Breath at a Time Holiday Party, which drew about 250 people.
"Something like this is very encouraging, very strengthening," said Nicosia, of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Tampa. "You also feel that you're not by yourself. You realize that you're not on an island independent of others.
"You exchange ideas, learn from others, what they do during their time of suffering. The suffering is not only physical, it's psychological and emotional."
This was Nicosia's fourth party.
Sunday night was one of several fundraisers the nonprofit One Breath at a Time organization hosts throughout the year. The goal is to fund its Butterfly House, a two-story home just off the Hillsborough River in Tampa, renovated to serve three patients and some family members before, during and after transplants. The house allows people to stay within a seven-minute drive to Tampa General Hospital during treatment, rent-free.
Mark Rolfe and his medical staff deep-fried six turkeys, while guests provided the side dishes. Later, items ranging from wine to an iPod speaker system were auctioned off.
"It's great to see the people," Rolfe said. "We see them when they're sick. [At the party], we see them with their families and dressed up. They're not patients. They're more friends. It's nice because they get to interact with each other."
Robyn Dekeyser, now 43, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis just 21 days after being born. She said it never hindered her everyday life, just fast-tracked things. She's an accomplished ballet performer and for 10 years was an administrative assistant at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tampa.
On July 23, 2012, Dekeyser underwent a double lung transplant.
Now, she doesn't worry about breathing anymore.
"It's an involuntary thing that you do, but for [cystic fibrosis] patients waiting for a double lung transplant, it's not so voluntary," said Dekeyser, who was attending her first party. "Every breath is labored and very executed. To not have to worry about that is amazing."
The annual party allows the doctors and patients to move beyond numbers, said Tarik Haddad, a doctor who began working with Rolfe four years ago.
"A lot of times, that personal touch in medicine is lost," Haddad said. "You're just a patient, a number. This brings it to now you're a family. Patients can share stories of been there and done that."
When potential transplant patients see those who have already experienced the process and are on their way to a new sense of normalcy, it makes the journey easier, Haddad said.
"It's a rewarding experience for the fact that we can take our patients who have been through the process of a transplant and get them to meet patients who are just starting that process," Haddad said. "A lot of times the patients are facing the daunting thought of transplant and breathing with someone else's lungs; it's a huge surgical procedure, and it's a scary task."

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