Woman gets transplanted lungs from 30-year smoker


Words fail me. Unless this was some desperate do-this-now-or-she-dies situation, this seems seriously screwed up. Now she can have the benefit of 30 years of smoking, and all their assorted risks, without having to ever smoke a cigarette.
Can you imagine selling Used Lungs?

“These lungs belonged to a little old lady from Pasadena who only smoked on Sundays”

To be fair, the un-used lungs are usually too small to fit.

Eh - lung transplants aren’t something you do for kicks. This almost certainly was a do-it-ASAP-or-you’ll-die situation. People with cystic fibrosis, in particular, tend not to make it past early adulthood with a transplant. And it’s a nasty death, too.

Good rule of thumb for a lung transplant survivor: If you’re still capable of complaining, don’t.

Wait - should have read the article. The recipient died.

Oh well. Organ supplies are limited, especially since they don’t keep long. You take the organs you can get from the people who happen to have died recently, or wait for the next one -whenever that might be. And unless the smoker died of lung cancer, I’d take smoker-lungs over cystic-fibrosis lungs any day of the week.

Died of pneumonia, no less.
I’m sure there are sound medical reasons for using these lungs, but if I got 'em, I’d be freaked.

On my first parse, I thought it said that the smoker had died of pneunomia and really wondered what the hell they were doing transplanting those lungs.

But out of curiosity, this was posted in the story’s comments section:

Can anyone corroborate the anonymous internet person’s info?

I can’t say as I’d be thrilled to get smokers lungs, but I would think if I was desperately in need of the transplant I’d be willing to take the risk. The risks of lung transplantation for CF patients are high, and pnuemonia is a common cause of death, so I don’t know how they can possibly know if her death is attributable to the condition of the lungs or not.

Also, aren’t donors generally unknown to the recipient? How did they ever find out that the person was a 30-year smoker? In the article it says the woman would have ‘lodged a complaint’, but is there any reasonable expectation of full disclosure about your donors lifestyle and overall health?

I also like how quickly and predictably the anti-socialized medicine people came out in the comments for that article - as if something like this could never happen in America.

I’d be happy to get a 30-year smoker’s lungs if I’d been smoking for 40.

If it was get a smoker’s lungs or definitely die, I’d take Door #1.

Hell, I’d take the smoker’s lungs, the psychopath’s heart, and the CRAZY RIGHT HAND of a madman, if it would give me but another hour of sweet, sweet life.

Another hour of fighting of the crazy hand that’s trying to kill ya?

This is really weird; my Dad shares the same name as her Dad and my parents have got about thirty calls from journalists over the last three days, some from Canada and America and so on. “How do you feel about this, Mr Scott?”. How do you suppose the poor sod feels! I hope they never get the right number. Vultures.

/Cool story bro.

And yeah, it’s a terrible shame but CF is a terrible shame all round, and transplants are a do-or-die scenario. I’d rather have smoker’s lungs than CF lungs.

Did she actually die from complications associated with the smoking though? Isn’t death from pneumonia quite common in people who have had a lung transplant? Of course, I don’t think the family’s complaints (judging by the video on BBC news) are that she was given smoker’s lungs, which apparently is within national guidelines, but that she was never told that the lungs came from a smoker.

Sure, why not? It’d make for a fun story at the wake, if nothing else.

I find it really hard to believe they’d have given her those lungs if they had any other choice. There’s no guarantee that the lungs were actually badly-damaged, either; would the doctors have bothered if they were? They’re not in a competition to see how many transplants they can do in one day. At least, I presume not…

TBH I never thought that all donated organs would be completely perfectly healthy; completely perfectly healthy people don’t die in large enough numbers for that.

How much disclosure about the donor is normal in transplant scenarios? I thought they were considered anonymous.

I can’t watch the video now - do the parents ever mention how they came to find out that the lungs came from a smoker?