Man given cancerous organ in transplant calls for answers after NHS admits negligence  


A man given a cancerous kidney in a transplant has said the full details of how and why it happened should be revealed, after the NHS today admitted it had been negligent.

Rob Law, 59, had to go through extensive chemotherapy in the wake of the trauma and is now asking for the circumstances surrounding the incident to be disclosed publicly.

He commented: “Revealing how this was allowed to happen would ensure that medical professionals throughout the UK can learn from the mistakes made and ensure better care in the future. I also feel strongly that the NHS trusts involved should publish a comprehensive report stating what measures have been taken to minimise the risk of a tragic recurrence.”

Mr Law instructed JMW to seek information and, if appropriate, to launch a legal challenge against any parties negligently involved with the transplant. A legal claim was then started in March last year. Following the admission of negligence by NHS Blood and Transplant, Mr Law will receive compensation to help him cope with the fall-out from the Intravascular B Cell Lymphoma. However he is most concerned that lessons are learned.

Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, commented on the case: “Receiving the admission from NHS Blood and Transplant is a major milestone in Mr Law’s case. However, he, and the public at large, need assurances that lessons have been learned. For anyone else to have to go through such a terrible ordeal would be an absolute travesty."

In its admission, NHS Blood and Transplant states that there was a failure to communicate to the transplant team at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust the possibility that the donor had lymphoma. It was further admitted that had that possibility been communicated, the kidneys would have been rejected and the transplant would not have proceeded. 

Mr Law added: “Throughout this gruelling episode I have continued to campaign and support organ donation. Today, in the UK, there are more than 10,000 people who need a transplant, and three people a day will die waiting, as there are not enough organs available. I am so grateful to the family of the donor who made a courageous decision at an extremely difficult time and to all the medical personnel dedicated to the care of people in the UK.”

Mr Law, who lives in Wirral, Merseyside, had been suffering from chronic kidney disease for five years and was on the kidney transplant list, when he underwent the operation on 26th November 2010. His sister was on standby as live donor, but Mr Law received a call in the middle of the night from The Royal Liverpool Hospital to say a kidney from a non-living donor had become available, via NHS Blood and Transplant. Mr Law decided to go ahead and spare his sister the strain of a live donation and he underwent the transplant within hours after being assured that the donor kidney was healthy.

However 12 days after the surgery, on 9th December, Mr Law was told that an autopsy had been performed on the donor and it confirmed that she had Intra Vascular B Cell Lymphoma. A biopsy was carried out on Mr Law’s transplanted kidney, which revealed the same lymphoma. Mr Law then underwent a course of gruelling chemotherapy, which has put the cancer into remission.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Livesey on the details below:

Kelly Livesey
D. 0161 828 1868

Note to Editors
JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.
JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented thousands of victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over 70 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.

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