Inquest Investigates Death Of Cancer Patient During Clinical Trial

Patient Dies from Liver and Kidney Failure During Clinical Trial

07.07.2010

Inquest Investigates Death Of Cancer Patient During Clinical Trial

An inquest has today recorded a narrative, after a 63 year old cancer patient died from liver and kidney failure whilst participating in a clinical trial.

Christopher Wilkinson, a former accountant, from Didcot in Oxfordshire, died on 27th January 2010. Oxfordshire Coroner, Nicholas Gardiner, heard that Mr Wilkinson had been diagnosed with kidney cancer six months previously and as a result had undergone an operation to remove the affected kidney.

Following surgery he was enrolled onto a drug trial, run by the Medical Research Council (MRC) using Oxford's Churchill Hospital as a regional base. The trial involved the use of the chemotherapy drug, Sorafenib, to test whether it was effective in preventing a recurrence of cancer.

The inquest heard that by early January 2010 Mr Wilkinson had become jaundiced. Blood tests showed that his remaining kidney and his liver were both failing and a clinician involved in the trial admitted that he believed that the drug had lead to Mr Wilkinson's organ failure.

Recording a narrative verdict, the coroner ruled that Mr Wilkinson's death was likely to have been as a consequence of this (drug) therapy.

Gary Walker, a medical law solicitor with law firm, Irwin Mitchell, who is representing Mr Wilkinson's widow, Susanna, said: "This was a particularly tragic case, given that Christopher was undergoing the chemotherapy trial, purely to test the effectiveness of the drug as a preventative measure, having successfully undergone surgery to remove the affected kidney.

"Mrs Wilkinson is grateful to the coroner for investigating the circumstances of her husband's untimely death.

"She is particularly concerned to find out firstly whether her husband was actually a suitable candidate for this trial, given that he was reliant upon one kidney and secondly, whether the drug can cause organ failure.

"She maintains that Christopher did not receive an up to date Patient Information Leaflet and so may not have had the full facts about the trial in order to make an informed decision.

"Mrs Wilkinson will now be taking time to fully consider the evidence from today's inquest, before deciding whether she wishes to proceed with legal action."