Kidney Op Patient Claiming £14m In Damages

A man who nearly died during an operation to donate a kidney to his father today claimed High Court damages of more than £14 million over his "catastrophic'' injuries.

The 38-year-old - who can only be identified as XYZ - was the victim of a negligently performed operation in February 2008, Mr Justice Spencer, sitting in London, was told.

In the course of donating his right kidney, the man suffered irreversible left kidney failure which meant that he, in turn, needed a transplant from his sister.

He had paid "a very great price'' for assisting his father, said Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC.

The judge said that liability was admitted by Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust on the basis that the surgeon, who is the subject of proceedings before the General Medical Council, was not only negligent but to a degree reckless.

The four-day hearing is concerned with the assessment of compensation as the Trust disputes some of the man's claims - including substantial amounts for future loss of earnings and medical expenses.

Ms Gumbel said that the man's motive was to spare his father further dialysis treatment and give him a better quality of life in retirement.

"The donation of the kidney was successfully achieved but at a great cost to the claimant who, during the course of the operation, suffered torrential, life-threatening haemorrhaging.''

As a result, she added, his own life had been shortened by about 10 years and he had already had to suffer the trauma that his own dialysis involved, considerable health problems and the prospect of future deterioration with the inevitability of another transplant.

"The claimant, formerly a dynamic, extremely hard-working and very highly thought of family and professional man, has been shattered by the experience.

"He faces a life filled with considerable uncertainty. He is understandably obsessed by his health. He remains on edge as to whether the kidney will be rejected.''

Nerve damage had left him needing foot surgery which meant he was unable to run, and his condition necessitated lifelong organ rejection suppressant drugs which carried significant risks.

Ruling that XYZ's identity should not be disclosed, the judge said that the circumstances were so exceptional that his naming would be likely to have a devastating effect on both him and his family, who had already suffered grievously.

"It's clear on the evidence before me that the circumstances of this tragic event have already left a serious emotional and psychological scar on him.

"The psychiatric evidence says he will remain vulnerable to episodes of illness and publication of his name would exacerbate that risk.''

The judge said that the man's wife was also seriously affected to the extent that she had received damages from the Trust for psychological injury.

"The claimant and his wife have two very young children who have already been seriously affected by the events and their father's disabilities and illness.''

The judge said that the tragedy had also put a great strain on the man's relationship with his mother and father and had a catastrophic effect on the personal circumstances of his sister.

The hearing was adjourned.