False Alarm no. 2
So there I was just about to settle down and relax with a DVD when the phone starts to ring. I answered and instantly heard the familiar sound of the Transplant coordinators voice, she asked how I was and I knew when I looked at my watch and realised it was 10pm on a Saturday night, that this wasn’t just a social call. I was right. “We’ve got some potential lungs for you” she said. So off I went to the Freeman hospital, Newcastle.
I didn’t seem to be waiting around as long this time, things moved much quicker, I had all my tests done, bloods, x-ray, ECG, blood pressure, oxygen SATS. They all came back fine and I was then told that the tissue typing was also fine.
That’s when it all got a little bizarre...
The coordinator said to me that the blood gasses that had been completed on the donor lungs were good and they were now going to physically inspect them and at this point she had to make me aware that these lungs were in fact from a donor who had smoked. She explained that the reason she had to tell me this was because of new consent which is currently been put into place due to stories such as this one http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fhealth%2Fhealthnews%2F7827149%2FTransplant-patient-died-after-being-given-smokers-lungs.html&h=QAQAbDpAb
Of course just because someone smokes doesn’t mean they have donated unusable, bad lungs. The above story was to do with far more complex complications.
However, I was a little taken aback by her sudden announcement for my consent to use smokers lungs as honestly I didn’t want to swap the pair I have now for another pair of damaged failing lungs. I asked for some time to consider my options weigh up the pros and cons. Do I take the chance? Will they work? Time to consider what ifs, what if I say no I don’t consent, but this was my chance and turns out to be my only chance.
But time was a luxury I didn’t have. The decision needed to be made and made quickly. So I decided to bite the bullet and agree to consent. I had every faith that the surgeons involved would not give me unusable, unreliable lungs.
On closer inspection it turned out that the lungs were not suitable, the lower left lobe wasn’t inflating correctly.
So back home it was, to sit and wait for the phone to ring again. Here’s hoping it will be 3rd Time lucky. Please keep the Donor and their family in your thoughts, the lungs were a no, but several lives may still have been saved and without people like this, people like me wont get that second chance.