Transplant pair ‘killed by worm’

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Published: Saturday 15th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Two transplant patients died after being given kidneys infected with a parasitic worm, solicitors have said.

Darren Hughes, 42, and Robert “Jim” Stuart, 67, were given the kidneys from the same donor who was carrying the deadly worm in his organs when he died.

They are believed to be among just five cases ever recorded across the world – and all have died from the worm infection, according to lawyers acting for the families.

An inquest into the deaths is being held next week.

Julie Lewis, a lawyer representing the families of the two men, said they are “desperately seeking answers as to how these tragedies could have happened”.

Health bosses confirmed the “unique and tragic case” is being investigated.

The two men had kidney transplants last November, but after surgery their conditions began to deteriorate rapidly, they lost consciousness and died just over two weeks later.

Post-mortem examinations revealed that they both died from an infection called meningeoencephaltis that was caused by a parasitic worm known as Halicephalobus, which lives in soil and is commonly found in horses.

Lawyers said the donor of the kidneys died from the same infection.

Miss Lewis, from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, said: “Both of these families are going through an incredibly difficult time and they are understandably devastated by their loss of their loved ones.

“The families are both desperately seeking answers as to how these tragedies could have happened and what measures should have been taken to ensure the patients’ safety.

“They have serious concerns about the information they have heard so far about what happened and hope that the inquest will provide them with answers to the many questions they have about the circumstances leading up to the deaths.”

Several investigations have been carried out by University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where both transplants took place, and NHS Blood and Transplant and Public Health England and Public Health Wales have also been involved.

It is understood the outcome of these investigations will be revealed at the inquest at Cardiff Coroner’s Court next week.

The families of Mr Stuart and Mr Hughes, from Cardiff and Bridgend in South Wales, are expected to attend the inquest.

In a statement released a ahead of the inquest, Ruth Walker, director of nursing at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “This is a unique and tragic case and everyone at the health board extends their sincere and heartfelt sympathies to the families involved.”

Published: Saturday 15th November 2014 by The News Editor

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