The medical staff at Harefield hospital is finally relieved after investigators gave them a clean chit, absolving them of any blame for the death of seven heart transplant patients, which had taken place in a short period of time.
Between July 17th
and September 3rd
, four consecutive deaths had taken place just within 30 days of a heart transplant. Out of the 15 heart transplants that had taken place in the year, seven were unsuccessful resulting in death of the patients.
The health commission which looked into the overriding reasons for these deaths, found two prominent factors- patients were in the high risk category and there was an acute paucity of healthy donor hearts.
Team leader of the investigative committee, Nigel Ellis, said, "The death of any patient, under any circumstances, is always a tragic event. Heart transplants are risky operations carried out on extremely ill patients and in many cases it is their last resort. We note that the review did not find evidence of deficiencies in the care given to patients or that the deaths could have been prevented. I'm sure these will be important findings for the family of those patients."
The report statement read: "A rising risk profile and clinical complexity has been a national phenomenon in UK heart transplantation in recent years. A major factor in this change is the increased availability of other treatments and technologies that may delay referral for transplantation until other avenues of treatment have been exhausted."