Cystic fibrosis woman died with smoker's donor lungs

by SafwatChoudhury on June 8, 2013 - 11:45pm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-20762437

This article describes the issue of 27 year old Jennifer Wederell who seems to have died due to the cause of an unhealthy lung that was transplanted within her. I've decided to research on this particular case because transplants are occurring on a daily basis, without the patient fully understanding the situation, and in some cases, the consequences. This article discusses Jennifer’s life, and the issues regarding her lung transplant. The lung that she was given just happened to previously belong to an individual that was a smoker, however Jennifer and her family had been unaware that she was going to receive a lung of an individual who used to smoke. This raises the question, should smokers be given the privilege to donate their organs?

Jennifer had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in her mid-twenties, and had been on the waiting list for a lung transplant for about 18 months. Finally, the doctors had found a match. Jennifer had then died 16 months after the transplant had occurred.

As tragic as this situation may be, individuals begin to wonder if smokers should have the right to donate their organs for transplants. In my opinion, smokers should not be allowed to donate their organs due to the risks that it involves. In this case, Jennifer had lost her life due to an infected lung. However, certain people believe that smokers should still have the right to donate their organs because as mentioned previously, Jennifer had been waiting roughly 18 months for a transplant. If smokers were not allowed to donate their organs, the hospital would lose roughly forty percent of their organs, and thus this would greatly delay those who are in need of a transplant.  

Aside from this, certain individuals also argue that the lungs that are available for transplants are thoroughly inspected for any type of disease or infection within the organ. And, it is also very rare for a patient to decline the use of a smoker’s lung because this could further place the patient in danger. Individuals, who also state that smokers should donate their lungs, also claim that despite all of the risks associated with the organs, the statistics show that the outcomes of the patients that receive these transplants are improving year by year.

Although smokers currently are still allowed to donate their lungs, the risks are still present, and in cases such as Jennifer’s it may be difficult to find the diseases/infections that may be hidden within the lung before it’s too late. Many have begun to ponder about this subject, and ask themselves; just how many risks is society willing to take before another innocent life is taken?

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