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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    Central PA
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    Soldier Dies After Receiving Smoker's Lungs in Transplant

    This is just crazy!!!


    A leading UK hospital has defended its practice of using organs donated by smokers after the death of a soldier who received the cancerous lungs of a heavy smoker.


    A close up X-ray view of a cigarette smoker's lungs.

    Corporal Matthew Millington, 31, died at his home in 2008, less than a year after receiving a transplant that was supposed to save his life at Papworth Hospital -- the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital, in Cambridgeshire, east England.

    Papworth Hospital released a statement saying using donor lungs from smokers was not "unusual."

    The statement added that the hospital had no option but to use lungs from smokers as "the number of lung transplants carried out would have been significantly lower," if they didn't.





    More at link:
    http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/12...ant/index.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Cajun Country, Louisiana
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    7,598
    Well, maybe it's just me, but I'd rather not receive cancerous lungs. They did this man no favors.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    4,761
    You would think they prior to the lungs being donated, they would have made sure they were good lungs or tested them.. dang
    "The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair."

    -J. Edgar Hoover

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    249
    That is just heartbreaking!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Virginia
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    I'm sure that the pain/rehabilitation that this man went through after receiving the lungs wasn't worth the year that it prolonged his life. Or at least it wouldn't have been for me. That whole year was probably spent trying to get back on his feet.

    I think if they're going to use smoker's lungs (which I think they shouldn't) then they should let the patient know ahead of time that they are smoker's lungs. Then they can choose whether they want to take the risk or not.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Indiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzybeth View Post
    I'm sure that the pain/rehabilitation that this man went through after receiving the lungs wasn't worth the year that it prolonged his life. Or at least it wouldn't have been for me. That whole year was probably spent trying to get back on his feet.

    I think if they're going to use smoker's lungs (which I think they shouldn't) then they should let the patient know ahead of time that they are smoker's lungs. Then they can choose whether they want to take the risk or not.
    I agree. I'm having a hard time understanding why the hospital wouldn't disclose such information to a donor recipient. I view that as negligence.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    708
    There is no excuse for what they did -- it is unconsciounable. (I hope I spelled that big word correctly!) If they are going to transplant an organ, they need to transplant a HEALTHY organ. To do otherwise is morally wrong. My husband passed away from COPD and lung cancel; he was a smoker. I cannot imagine putting his sick lungs into someone else even if they were still working!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Aliso Viejo, CA
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    581
    Back on track with the facts.....

    They, the doctors, tested the lung for cancer but did not find it / failed to identify it. So the lung was deemed healthy.

    The drugs given too the patient after the transplant to avoid organ rejection actually helped the cancer grow.

    The doctors say this is an unusal (one?) case.

    The debate should be; is any smoker's lung healthy enough for lung transplant, and was the lung cancer test sufficient?

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by sniperacer View Post
    Back on track with the facts.....

    The debate should be; is any smoker's lung healthy enough for lung transplant, and was the lung cancer test sufficient?
    My answer, no and no.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Aliso Viejo, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzybeth View Post
    My answer, no and no.

    That would be the simple answer. But from the article, I get the idea that lungs are very hard to get (as with all transplate organs). So many have to make the choice between dying or getting whatever "screened/tested" lung is available.

    And, from the article, it seems they have used smoker's lung's successfully many times. Making one heck of a personal choice .....


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Virginia
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    It would be a difficult choice for the recipient too. Granted the doctors should tell the patient that these are the lungs of a smoker, they have been tested and haven't shown any signs of cancer...are you still interested? They should also be told that the anti-rejection drugs may cause the cancer, if present, to grow.

    I just believe that patients should be given all the facts. If the doctors knew the lungs came from a smoker (even if they found no traces of cancer) then the patient should have known too.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Aliso Viejo, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzybeth View Post
    It would be a difficult choice for the recipient too. Granted the doctors should tell the patient that these are the lungs of a smoker, they have been tested and haven't shown any signs of cancer...are you still interested? They should also be told that the anti-rejection drugs may cause the cancer, if present, to grow.

    I just believe that patients should be given all the facts. If the doctors knew the lungs came from a smoker (even if they found no traces of cancer) then the patient should have known too.

    It's not clear, from the article, if the patient knew or not. But I suspect they gave the patient full disclosure? But faced with death .....

    And I have no idea what happens if a patient turns down an available organ. Do you go back to the end of the transplate "list"? Or worse, off the "list"?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
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    667
    There's no way to detect the very earliest stages of cancer in any organ. It may be tens of cancerous cells, not enough to detect on blood tests and certainly not "visible" on the most sensitive equipment.

    10% of lung cancer sufferers NEVER SMOKED A DAY IN THEIR LIVES.

    All it would take is a small number of cells to go wacko with the anti-rejection drugs. They increase the risk of developing all manner of cancers and infections and cellular misbehavior all on their own in the recipients OWN organs.

    I agree that transplanting organs from people at risk is stupid. The reality is that transplantation is a crapshoot from so many different angles that it is merely stupid-ER. Transplants do not assure a full normal life for anyone who gets them, they ensure prolonged life, hopefully.

  14. #14
    When I hear stories like this, I think I should sign up to be a donor, but then I never do.

    Is anyone here a donor? Why/why not?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by RainbowsAndGumdrops View Post
    When I hear stories like this, I think I should sign up to be a donor, but then I never do.

    Is anyone here a donor? Why/why not?
    I am. Why? I don't care what happens to my organs after I'm dead. Let my organs do some good. It's on my CA drivers license (most healthy folks die in auto accidents).

    More important, why should you be a donor? Because, by default, you are on whatever transplant recipient list when necessary!

    It is only fair.

    Every day above ground is a good one.

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