Cystic Fibrosis Woman Dies After Transplant

Cystic Fibrosis Woman Dies After Transplant

The father of a woman born with cystic fibrosis who died after being given a lung transplant from a smoker is 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.

Jennifer, 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 of this year, less than a year after the operation, Mrs 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," Mr Grannell told the Daily Mail.

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

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

The Royal Brompton Hospital Trust told Sky News: "The Trust has reiterated its sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Jennifer Wederell for their very sad loss.

"It is very rare for patients to specify that they do not wish to be considered for clinically healthy lungs from smokers.

"This is because the risks are much higher if patients decline donor lungs from a former smoker, and decide to wait for another set of organs which are both a match for them and from a non-smoker, to become available.

"However we recognise that Jennifer should have been given the opportunity to make this choice. We have apologised sincerely for this oversight.

"Regrettably, the number of lungs available for transplantation would fall by 40% if there was a policy of refusing those which have come from a smoker; waiting lists would increase and many more patients would die without a transplant."