Pictured: Two mothers who both died from bacterial infections after receiving double lung transplants at same hospital
- Karen Starling and Anne Martinez caught a bacterial infection after transplants
- Ms Starling, 54, was being treated for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Ms Martinez, 65, was being treated for lung disease at Royal Papworth Hospital
- Both mothers had the lung transplants in the summer of 2019 and died in 2020
Two mothers died from bacterial infections after receiving double lung transplants at the same hospital, an inquest will hear tomorrow.
Karen Starling, mother-of-six, and Anne Martinez, mother-of-two, fell ill with a bacterial infection after double lung transplants in the summer of 2019.
They both died in 2020.
Ms Starling, 54, was being treated for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in May 2019 with the potentially life-saving operation.
The treatment became fatal after she fell ill with pancreatitis following a Mycobacterium Abscessus (M.abscessus) infection.
It was later found that 20 other lung condition patients contracted the same infection that summer at Royal Papworth Hospital, in Cambridgeshire.
Ms Starling, 54, was being treated for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in May 2019 with the potentially life-saving operation
Ms Starling, from Ipswich, Suffolk, died in February 2020.
Ms Martinez, 65, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was being treated for lung disease, and had the transplant in July 2019.
Following her diagnosis of the bacterial infection, her condition deteriorated until her death in December 2020.
Ms Martinez, 65, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was being treated for lung disease, and had the transplant in July 2019
The families of several patients, including Ms Starling and Ms Martinez, will now attend an inquest starting tomorrow to try and find answers to what happened.
In a joint statement, Ms Martinez’s sons Anthony, 40, and Andrew, 35, said: ‘We thought mum’s operation would be a new chapter in her life.
‘It’s still difficult to accept she is no longer here. Having so many questions still has made trying to grieve mum all the harder.
‘While time has moved on, it feels like it’s stood still for our family.’
A report from the hospital following the incident blames a contaminated water supply as the ‘most credible source’ of the bacteria.
The same report states there was no evidence of problems with the facilities management or clinical care of the patients.
Jatinder Paul, a specialist public health lawyer at Irwin Mitchell legal firm representing the families, said: ‘M.abscessus is an incredibly dangerous bacterial infection for lung transplant patients, who are particularly vulnerable, the consequences of which should never be downplayed.
‘It can lead to long-term health problems, and in the worst cases can be fatal.
‘If, during the course of the inquest, any issues are identified in how Karen and Anne contracted M.abscessus, it’s vital that lessons are learned to prevent other people from contracting such infections in the future.’
The families of several patients at Royal Papworth Hospital, including Ms Starling and Ms Martinez, will attend an inquest starting tomorrow to try and find answers to what happened
Ms Starling’s husband, Derek Starling, said: ‘Karen was all about family. It was her main focus and what she lived for.
‘When we were told that she would be able to undergo a transplant, we were overjoyed and hoped it would give her many years with us.
‘We’ll always be thankful for the skill and expertise the transplant surgeons and their team showed, and the care and compassion other medical staff showed Karen as she fought for her life.
‘However, we still have so many concerns about how Karen contracted her infection and if more could have been done to prevent her illness.’
The inquest will take place at Peterborough Town Hall in Cambridgeshire.
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