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Merseyside Man, Robert Law, Receives Cancerous Kidney in Transplant


A Merseyside man has received a cancerous kidney during a transplant operation at Royal Liverpool Hospital.

Robert Law, 59, who lives on the Wirral, had been suffering from chronic kidney disease for 5 years. After his condition deteriorated he was placed on the kidney transplant list. His sister offered to be a kidney donor and following investigations it turned out she was a suitable match.

However, Mr Law, who was being treated at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, received a telephone call in the middle of the night in November 2010 offering a kidney from a non-living donor. He underwent the transplant within a matter of hours after he was assured the donated kidney had undergone extensive testing and was healthy

Six days after the surgery Mr Law was told that an autopsy had been performed on the donor who was found to have had lymphoma, a type of cancer. A biopsy was carried out on the donor kidney and Mr Law was informed that the transplanted kidney was cancerous. He’s been affected both physically and mentally and is currently undergoing a course of chemotherapy. As yet his prognosis is uncertain.

Robert Law, whose case is highlighted in a documentary for File on 4 on BBC Radio 4 to be broadcast on Tuesday 22nd March, believes that practice must be changed to ensure no-one else is put in the same situation following transplantation of an organ. He commented:

“I am keen to publicise what has happened to me so that the screening of organs in the UK is improved and that patients are fully informed of the risks when they accept an organ. Had I known that this was a possibility I would not have accepted this organ and it is likely that I would now have a healthy kidney from my sister. I don’t know exactly what the guidelines are but perhaps they need to be made clearer on the issue of cancerous organs or donors so that this does not happen to anyone else.”

Susan Taylor, a specialist clinical negligence lawyer at JMW Solicitors LLP, who is representing Mr Law added:

“We hope that Rob’s case will serve to increase awareness of the risks currently facing organ recipients. There needs to be very clear guidelines relating to the screening of organs to ensure the risk of transplanting a diseased organ is minimised.”


Notes for editors:

1. Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system, part of the body’s immune system which require aggressive treatment with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

2. JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.

JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading clinical negligence lawyer, Eddie Jones. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over Ł50 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.

3. BBC Radio 4’s ‘File on 4’ documentary “Organs Failure” will examine the crisis in organ donations for transplant and will be broadcast on Tuesday 22nd March 2011 at 8pm.

4. For interviews and questions please contact:

Susan Taylor, Clinical Negligence lawyer, JMW Solicitors LLP
Direct Line: 0161 828 1932


 Robert Law
 Cancerous Kidney
 Kidney Transplant
 Royal Liverpool Hospital
 Kidney Lymphoma

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