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'Don't be put off transplants' say families.

Byline: Health Correspondent Mark Smith

THE families of two men who died after their kidney transplants were infected with a parasitic worm have urged others not to be deterred from having transplant operations.

Relatives of Robert Stuart and Darren Hughes, who died two weeks after being given kidney transplants at the University Hospital of Wales, spoke out ahead of the inquests into their deaths today.

A post-mortem examination revealed the pair died in November 2013 from meningeoencephaltis, an infection caused by a parasitic worm known as halicephalobus which lives in soil and is commonly found in horses.

They are believed to be among just five cases ever recorded of this kind in the world, according to lawyers acting for the families.

The donor of the kidneys also died from the same infection. An inquest into their deaths is due to take place at Cardiff Coroner's Court from 10am. Ahead of the hearing, the families of Mr Stuart, 67, from Bridgend, and Mr Hughes, 42, from Cardiff, have questioned why the donor was ever allowed to give his organs to the two men.

Darren Hughes' father Ian said he felt he'd signed his son's "death warrant" after consenting on his behalf to undergo the operation.

The married father-ofsix had undergone kidney transplant surgery three times, but a neurological condition left him unable to hold a pen.

Mr Hughes told the BBC: "Thanks to transplantation, Darren had a good life.

"So anybody out there who is waiting to have a transplant, please, when the organ gets offered, accept it. Go for it. Because that person's life will be much improved."

Judith Stuart, the widow of Mr Stuart, who was fondly known as Jim, said her family needed answers to what had happened.

She said: "This has been a tragedy, a real tragedy for all of us in the family and we don't really want people to be put off. "Why did the surgeon who operated on the donor decide that those kidneys were safe to use when he had no idea what had caused the infection that killed him? "Was all the information passed down the line so that Cardiff were aware of the background and the circumstances, and why didn't Cardiff call on experts to seek an opinion to the safety of the organs - and why wasn't it discussed with us?" 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.

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."


Darren Hughes

Robert Stuart |

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Title Annotation:Editorial; Diary
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 18, 2014
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