Monday, October 12, 2009

Soldier dies after receiving smoker's lungs in transplant

I'm actually outraged by this: "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."

"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."

WTF??? How was a double lung transplant from a smoker supposed to save this man's life? He served his country so that he could die like that? If hospitals are going to pull shit like that in the UK, because of a lack of organs (healthy organs, mind you), then maybe they shouldn't be transplanting organs from known UNHEALTHY people.

I suppose there is always the chance the organs from an unhealthy person, with the right medications, would transplant correctly. However, that is too much of a risk. Was Corporal Millington and his family told about the donor, that he/she was a smoker? If so, then maybe the chance at life, because he wasn't able to breathe on his own, was worth the risk of someone else's unhealthy lungs. What if he were told the other lungs were healthier than his? Was he lied to or did it even matter to him? Was the lure of life too great?

This seems to fly right in the face of the Hippocratic Oath. "The phrase "first, do no harm" is often, incorrectly, attributed to the oath. Although mostly of historical and traditional value, the oath is considered a rite of passage for practitioners of medicine, although nowadays the modernized version of the text varies among the countries."

"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."

And did you catch the part about Corporal Millington passing away in 2008, and this is just NOW making news in the United States? Was it being kept quiet over there for some reason?

The article doesn't mention it, but I found myself wondering about his family. Can they sue? Can they find a way to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else? If ever legislation needed to be enacted, shortage of organs be damned, it should be for the memory of Corporal Millington. How many other patients in the UK risk an affliction/sickness greater than what they already have, through an organ transplant?

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