1. ITV Report

Wirral transplant patient wins payout over kidney from donor with cancer

Robert Law had to undergo six cycles of chemotherapy after receiving kidneys at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 2010. Photo: JMW Solicitors

A man who was given a cancerous kidney in a transplant operation has been awarded a six figure compensation settlement from the NHS to help him to rebuild his life.

Robert Law, 62, of Wirral, Merseyside, endured gruelling chemotherapy and was left psychologically scarred after a communication error lead to him receiving a kidney from a woman with an aggressive form of cancer.

The past few years have been incredibly stressful and traumatic so I am relieved I am finally able to start the process of moving on with my life.

I continue to believe in the vital work that the transplant service does and remain grateful that the family of the woman who donated the kidney made the difficult decision to pass her organs on to people on the transplant list.

I hope that lessons have been learned from my case and that this has helped to make the system safer by ensuring all medical staff involved with transplants have the training and support they need.

– Robert Law

Mr Law underwent the transplant operation on November 26, 2010.

However 12 days after the surgery he was given the devastating news that an autopsy had revealed that the donor had intravascular B cell lymphoma.

Tests later confirmed that the kidney Mr Law had been given was cancerous.

Mr Law was on the transplant list after suffering from kidney disease for five years.

His sister had offered to donate one of her kidneys but after a kidney became available from a deceased donor he decided to spare her the ordeal.

Unfortunately the donated organ gave him cancer, which psychologically has taken an enormous toll on him.

Despite this Mr Law has conducted himself with great dignity throughout this case and has spoken out several times in support of organ donation.

In my experience as a medical negligence solicitor this type of error is rare but as with the many others we deal with it could have been avoided with adequate training, monitoring and communication.

It would be a further tragedy for anyone else to go through such an ordeal so it is vital that lessons have been learned.

– Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW Solicitors

Mr Law's solicitor secured an admission of negligence and an apology from NHS Blood and Transplant.

This confirmed that when the transplant was carried out there had been a failure to communicate to the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust the possibility that the donor had lymphoma.

A six figure settlement has now been negotiated for Mr Law to help him to cope with the fall-out of the error.

The settlement has been calculated to take into consideration the losses Mr Law suffered due to the negligence and his current and future care needs.

I would like to reiterate to Mr Law how sorry we are that this mistake was made. I hope the full and final settlement of his case means he can move on from what unfortunately happened.

I would also like to reassure Mr Law we have learnt lessons and have made a number of changes as a direct result of this case.

– Lynda Hamlyn, Chief Executive of NHS Blood and Transplant