NHS Blood and Transplant cancer patients apology

The NHS has apologised to two patients who got cancer from a kidney donor.

Rob Law, 59, and Gillian Smart, 46, received kidneys at the Royal Liverpool Hospital on 26 November 2010 from a woman with a rare form of blood cancer.

Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) offered "sincere and unreserved" apologies to both patients.

Mr Law, who is in remission, said: "I am very encouraged by their unreserved apology."

Ms Hamlyn said she was apologising as the patients were each given a donated kidney "that would have been rejected by their surgeon if he had been aware of the complete donor information".

'Human error'

She added: "The cause of the mistake was human error which was dreadful for all concerned.

"I do not underestimate how traumatic this has been for those involved but lessons have been learned through an extensive investigation and a number of changes to working practices have been implemented to help prevent any such event happening again."

Mr Law said: "This is a step forward, I am really concerned that nobody should have to go through what has happened to me."

The woman's cancer was not picked up in routine safety checks and disease was detected too late in a post-mortem examination.

The donor, a 56-year-old woman, is said to have died from a brain haemorrhage.

Pathologists later discovered she suffered from intravascular B-cell lymphoma, a rare but aggressive form of cancer.

Both Mr Law, from Liverpool and Ms Smart, from St Helens, had to undergo chemotherapy.

A spokesperson for The Royal Liverpool University Hospital said it had nothing to add to the NHSBT statement.

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