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Coroner due to deliver verdict in kidney death inquest

Darren Hughes (left), Robert Stuart (right) died after receiving kidney transplants at the University Hospital of South Wales Credit: Family photo

The coroner taking the inquest into the deaths of two men who died after infected kidney transplants at the University of Wales last December has retired to consider his verdict.

He told the families of the two men in court this morning that he will be reaching a narrative conclusion, but he wants to reflect on all the evidence before beginning his summing up.

Darren Hughes, who was 47 and from Bridgend,and Robert Stuart who was 67 and from Cardiff, both died from meningitis which had come from their kidney donor. The illness was caused by a rare parasitic worm, more commonly found in horses.

The two Welshmen were the first human-to-human recorded cases of the parasite in medical history.

Kidney transplant death inquest to conclude

The inquest into the deaths of two men who both died after having a kidney transplant from the same donor whose organs were allegedly infected with a parasitic worm, will finish today.

Darren Hughes and Robert Stuart died after kidneys transplants. Credit: Family Pictures.

Robert Stuart, 67, from Cardiff and Darren Hughes, 42, of Bridgend both died of an infection known as halicephalobus, which lives in soil and is often found in horses.

There have only been five reported cases in the world of people diagnosed with the infection.

The solicitors for the families of the two men say they are desperately seeking answers following the deaths.


Rare parasitic kidney infection 'could not been have diagnosed'

Darren Hughes (left), Robert Stuart (right) died after receiving kidney transplants at the University Hospital of South Wales Credit: Family photo

A consultant in microbiology and infectious diseases has told an inquest that it would have been "unreasonable" to think a parasitic infection that killed two men could have been diagnosed.

Brendon Healy said there hadn't been any human survivors of the infection and everything had been done to save Darren Hughes and Robert Stuart, who died after receiving kidney transplants.

It was only months later, after the men died and after calling experts from across the globe, that the cause of the infection was discovered.

Cambridge professor Christopher Watson, who compiled a report into the incident, said that if he had been in the position of surgeon Dr Argiris Asderakis - who did the transplant - he would have made a different decision.

I am quite sure that he had the best intentions and there was no intention to cause any harm. I can understand how he came to his risk/benefit equation. But it's not the same equation I would had come to.

– Professor Christopher Watson

The inquest is expected to conclude tomorrow.


Inquest hears from Cambridge surgeon who refused infected kidneys

Darren Hughes (left) and Robert Stuart (right) died after receiving kidney transplants Credit: Family photo

The inquest into the deaths of two men who died after receiving kidney transplants at the University Hospital of South Wales has resumed this afternoon.

A Cambridge University transplant surgeon who turned down the infected kidneys on the night they were offered told the inquest that without the donor's cause of death he didn't risk using them.

Professor Christopher Watson said he would only have considered using them on someone who was "about to die very soon".

The donor had made no improvement on anti-bacterial and anti-viral drugs which was concerning so that is why I didn't accept them.

He had been in hospital for nine days and died so that showed there was no improvement. There was no diagnosis.

– Professor Christopher Watson

However, Watson admitted that many surgeons would use organs from a donor who had died from an unknown cause of infection and that "embracing risk" led to more lives saved through transplants.

He also said the parasitic worm infection could not have been foreseen and he doubted that it would ever be seen again.

The inquest continues.

Concern over 'gateway' effect of e-cigs on children

Heath officials said figures on children's use of e-cigarettes demonstrated concerns that using the devices could become a nicotine "gateway".

These latest findings shine further light on the potential impact of e-cigarettes on our children and young people.

I am concerned the use of e-cigarettes may act as a gateway to, and re-normalise, smoking, especially for a generation who have grown up in a largely smoke-free society.

– Mark Drakeford, Health Minister

Autumn Statement extras to go on health

Welsh Finance Minister Jane Hutt says all £70m of extra funding announced for Wales in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement will be spent on the health service in Wales.

The Welsh Government had been challenged by the UK Government to commit the funding to the NHS. Jane Hutt said:

Investing in our health service is a priority for this Government as reflected in our Budget for 2015-16. We have taken the opportunity today to boost our own investment with an additional £70m revenue funding. This means that over two years we’ve increased investment in our Welsh NHS by more than half a billion pounds. This demonstrates our clear commitment to a sustainable NHS in Wales based on the reforms outlined in the Nuffield report.

– Jane Hutt AM, Finance Minister
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