Radio: Inside the Ethics Committee – Transplant

BBC Radio 4, Thursday 23 July, 9pm. Available indefinitely via the iPlayer.

“Joan Bakewell discusses the thorny ethical issues in the real life case of a young woman called Charlotte who needs a kidney transplant.

Since her kidneys failed she has to spend every night attached to a dialysis machine. Dialysis is by no means perfect and her long term outlook is bleak. Doctors do not expect her to be alive in a decade. Her only hope is a kidney transplant from a living donor.

But Charlotte is an extremely high risk patient. She suffers from a severe form of antiphospholipid syndrome or ‘sticky blood’. There is a high chance that a transplanted organ will fail if it is transplanted into Charlotte, and she could even lose her life.

Is it ethical to offer Charlotte a kidney transplant? Whether the organ comes from the cadaver waiting list or a live donor, is this the best use of a precious resource when there is a high chance the organ will fail?

Joan Bakewell is joined by a panel of experts to discuss the complex ethical issues arising from the case.

The Panel

Mr John Forsythe, Clinical Director of Transplant Services at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Past President of the British Transplantation Society and is currently a Council Member of the European Society for Organ Transplantation. He has written and lectured on the ethics of transplants.

Fiona Loud, Chair of The Kidney Alliance. Fiona received a kidney transplant from her husband 3 years ago.

Deborah Bowman, Senior Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Law at St George’s Hospital University of London.”

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