Girl given smoker’s lungs passes away - Pakistan Today

Girl given smoker’s lungs passes away

SHE delayed her wedding for two years while she waited for a lung transplant to save her from the cystic fibrosis that had claimed her brother’s life.
The operation was a success, and last autumn an overjoyed Jennifer Wederell walked down the aisle to marry her boyfriend of four years.
Less than a year later, Mrs Wederell was dead, killed by cancer which her family is certain came from the donated lungs – which they found out, too late, had belonged to a 20-a-day smoker.
Mr Wederell says there is no way that his wife, who died in August at the age of 27, would ever have agreed to the transplant had she known the lungs came from a smoker.
Along with his wife’s parents, Mr Wederell, 28, is now campaigning for more non-smokers to register as organ donors, to prevent other families going through the same agony.
While it is easy to assume that only pristine organs are used in transplants, a severe shortage of donors means that almost 40 per cent of lungs used in the operations come from donors who have smoked. Research shows that a seriously ill patient is much more likely to die from turning down a transplant than from accepting lungs donated by a smoker.
Essex-born Mrs Wederell was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of two.
The disease, in which the lungs and digestive system become clogged with thick, sticky mucus, is hereditary. It claimed the life of her older brother, Richard Grannell, when he was just 23.
Mrs Wederell met her future husband through friends in 2007. By the time they got engaged in 2009, her health had deteriorated badly and the couple decided to delay the wedding in the hope she would get a transplant.
After an 18-month wait, she was told in April of last year that a pair of lungs was available. She gave her consent to the transplant after a doctor ran through the risks.
A few weeks before her operation, transplant guidelines had been revised to say that patients should be informed if their new lungs carried a higher than normal risk of cancer.
But Mrs Wederell was treated under the previous rules, and was not told that the lungs had come from a 20-a-day smoker.
The transplant, which was carried out at the Harefield Hospital in Uxbridge, West London, appeared to be a success and the couple married a few months later.
A few months later, however, her happiness was shattered when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was only then that she was told her new lungs had belonged to a smoker.
Mr Wederell is adamant that they were the source of the cancer.
She died at home in Hawkwell, Essex, on August 24. Her father, Colin Grannell, 57, said: ‘Yes, she had a fantastic wedding day but her death was horrible.
Along with his wife and son-in-law, Mr Grannell has now set up a Facebook page called Jennifer’s Choice to encourage more non-smokers to register as organ donors.
Mr Grannell says he wants those who have waited years for a transplant to have the choice his daughter never had.
A spokesman added that while it was ‘very rare’ for patients to specify they do not want lungs from smokers, Mrs Wederell should have had the choice. He said that research shows that a patient’s chance of survival is higher if they receive a smoker’s lungs than if they remain on the waiting list for a transplant from a donor with no history of smoking.
He added: ‘Regrettably, the number of lungs available for transplantation would fall by 40 per cent if there was a policy of refusing those which have come from a smoker; waiting lists would increase and many more patients would die without a transplant.’



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