27-Year-Old Woman Dies After Being Transplanted Smoker's Lungs

Jennifer Wederell was suffering with cystic fibrosis, hoped the lungs would save her

By on December 20th, 2012 09:11 GMT

Back in August, 27-year-old Jennifer Wederell from England died of cancer after being transplanted lungs that came from a smoker.

The young woman was suffering with cystic fibrosis and both she and her family hoped that the lungs transplant would help save her life.

However, that was not the case, and her father, Colin Grannell, is demanding that hospitals are somehow made to inform transplant patients with respect to any risks they might be facing as a result of their accepting organs from various donors.

As Colin Grannell explains, her daughter was merely told that the hospital managed to find a pair of lungs that would match her organism and not be rejected by it, yet nobody bothered to warn Jennifer that the donor used to be a smoker.

Seeing how she had been on the waiting list for about 18 months when she received this news, Jennifer agreed to the surgery.

However, it was less than a year before Jennifer was diagnosed with cancer, and just 16 months after receiving her new set of lungs that she passed away.

Sky News
quotes Colin Grannell, who stated that, “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.”

“She was dying a death that was meant for someone else,” Jennifer's father went on to add.

Interestingly enough, the lungs were declared clinically healthy prior to their being given to this 27-year-old woman, which goes to show that, despite the advancements and breakthroughs made thus far, medicine still has a thing or two to learn.

“It is very rare for patients to specify that they do not wish to be considered for clinically healthy lungs from smokers,” the Harefield Hospital in London offered as an excuse for this incident.

“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,” they wished to emphasize.

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