Soldier Dies After Receiving Smoker's Lungs in Transplant

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Pandora, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Pandora

    Pandora New Member

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    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/soldier.lung.cancer.transplant/index.html
     
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  3. kgeaux

    kgeaux New Member

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    Well, maybe it's just me, but I'd rather not receive cancerous lungs. They did this man no favors.
     
  4. MeoW333

    MeoW333 New Member

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    You would think they prior to the lungs being donated, they would have made sure they were good lungs or tested them.. dang
     
  5. amayla

    amayla New Member

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    That is just heartbreaking!!
     
  6. lizzybeth

    lizzybeth Active Member

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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.
     
  7. Indianagirl

    Indianagirl New Member

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    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.
     
  8. Penelope

    Penelope New Member

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    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!
     
  9. sniperacer

    sniperacer Former Member

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    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?
     
  10. lizzybeth

    lizzybeth Active Member

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    My answer, no and no.
     
  11. sniperacer

    sniperacer Former Member

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    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 .....
     
  12. lizzybeth

    lizzybeth Active Member

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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.
     
  13. sniperacer

    sniperacer Former Member

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    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"?
     
  14. PeteyGirl

    PeteyGirl New Member

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    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.
     
  15. RainbowsAndGumdrops

    RainbowsAndGumdrops New Member

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    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?
     
  16. sniperacer

    sniperacer Former Member

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    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.
     
  17. lizzybeth

    lizzybeth Active Member

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    I would like to be a donor but I don't think it's possible. I've had leukemia. I would if I could. I guess I should try to find out if it's possible to donate my eyes. Any other organ I would think would be suspect.
     
  18. Pandora

    Pandora New Member

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    I am not an organ donor at my doctor's recommendation. I was extremely ill during my senior year of HS and he feels that not enough is known about the disease I had. However, when a cousin needed a bone marrow transplant and he was willing to take the risk, I did get checked to see if I was his match. (I wasn't.) He knew what he might be getting though.
     

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