Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kidney Sent to Wrong Country

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Kidney Sent to Wrong Country

Article excerpt

Byline: By Amanda Crook

An urgently-needed kidney being sent from the North-East to a transplant operation in Northern Ireland ended up in the wrong country after a mix-up at Newcastle Airport yesterday.

Furious transplant co-ordinators have ordered an inquiry after the organ, donated by a North family following the death of their much-loved father, was put on the wrong plane at Newcastle International Airport.

Instead of going to Belfast, the organ ended up 700 miles away in Paris.

By the time the pilot of the Flybe Paris-bound plane realised the mistake it was too late to turn back.

With time ticking away to the 30-hour deadline after which kidneys become unsuitable for transplant, the pilot had to arrange for a special flight to take the organ direct to Belfast when he landed in Paris.

The kidney arrived at Belfast City Airport two hours after it was originally expected. Belfast City Hospital said it had arrived in good condition and within the time limit for a transplant to go ahead.

Last night Servisair, which runs baggage handling services at the airport, apologised for the mix-up and said it would be investigating what had gone wrong.

Sandra Latimer, a transplant co-ordinator at Newcastle Hospitals Trust which organised the removal of the kidney on Wednesday night, said: "We are extremely distressed and very, very angry that this has happened.

"I have told the donor family what has happened and they have taken the news remarkably well considering.

"Nothing of the kind has ever happened before in our experience and we will be making absolutely sure this is never allowed to happen again.

"In Newcastle we treat any organs donated for transplant with the utmost dignity and respect, in just the way we would treat a live person.

"We are extremely worried that this incident will stop people from donating their relatives' organs - we want to try to reassure them that this will not happen again. …

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