Family Speak Out After Successful Legal Challenge Allows Boy To Undergo Surgery
A teenager who underwent a kidney transplant following a legal challenge has thanked his donor’s family for saving his life.
William Verden, of Lancaster, was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. He was being kept alive through dialysis but his family were told that he only had a year at most before the treatment would stop working.
Lawyers successfully challenge decision not to offer William transplant
After medics said a transplant was not in the 17-year-old’s best interest, his mum Amy McLennan, instructed expert medical treatment dispute and human rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to launch a successful legal challenge against the decision. Amy believed the original decision not to offer her son a transplant was made because he sometimes finds dealing with medical treatment difficult due to his autism.
Following a hearing in the Court of Protection, earlier this year a judge ruled that a transplant would be in William’s best interests.
Teen recovering after kidney transplant
William is now recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery earlier this month.
Amy said William, who spent 18 days sedated in intensive care following the surgery, has been taken off a ventilator. He is able to get out of bed, play on his games console and is almost able to stand again unaided.
Initial tests have shown there are no sign of William’s kidney disease, she added.
William Verden issues statement through mum
In a statement released through Amy, William said: “To my donor’s family who sadly lost their loved one, thank you for saving my life.
“You gave me life when my life was almost over. You gave me the last thing you could ever give and I’ll be forever so grateful.
“We were brought together in tragedy and while I don’t know you we’re now part of each other. It’s because of you that I can live my best life. Please take comfort in knowing you’ve changed my life in so many ways. This is the biggest gift I’ve ever received.”
Expert Opinion“All Amy wanted was to offer William the best chance of recovery and the opportunity to live.
“People with learning disabilities and autism shouldn’t be treated differently and deserve access to the best possible treatment. Amy, ourselves and the court all believed a kidney transplant was in William’s best interests.
“We’ve continued to support the family since the ruling. While the circumstances of William receiving a kidney are bittersweet for the family, in that it has come from a deceased donor, it’s brilliant news to hear that William has received the transplant he so desperately needed.
“It’s also great to hear that William is making such progress from major surgery and we hope he continues to do over the coming weeks in order to thrive.” Liz Davis - Solicitor
Medical treatment dispute: William's story
William, who has autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was diagnosed with the kidney condition focal segmental glomerulosclerosis in December 2019.
FSGS affects around seven in every million people, attacking the kidneys’ filtering units, causing scarring that leads to permanent damage and, sometimes, organ failure. William’s kidney function before the transplant was around five per cent.
Following tests Amy, 45, William’s dad, Will, 44, and other relatives were not deemed to be suitable donors, prompting the family to issue an appeal for a suitable donor. Earlier this month the family were contacted by doctors to say a suitable kidney had become available from someone who had died. William underwent surgery the following day.
Following surgery William developed a blood and urine infection, However, Amy said these have been treated and doctors were happy with his progress.
William is still taking medication, including for pain relief. It is not yet known when he may be able to return home.
Amy's joy after son's life-saving transplant
Amy said: “The last few weeks have been a whirlwind and a real rollercoaster of emotions.
“The hardest thing you ever have to do as a parent is watch your child be so poorly, especially when there’s nothing you can really do to fix them. However, I was never going to give up on William.
“There have been some tough times over the last few weeks and it’s been touch and go as to whether William would pull through. I’m so proud of how William has continued to fight this battle.
“While he still faces challenges he’s awake and I can’t really quite believe the progress he’s making. He’s able to get out of bed and almost stand by himself.
“Receiving the news that a donor had been found happened so quickly that we weren’t really able to tell William. When he woke up I told him we’d been on an adventure and picked him up a kidney. He keeps asking where the kidney is from and when we tell him he says ‘that’s so kind’.
“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves but we just hope he continues his progress and we can get him home at some point in the near future. If everything goes as hoped this will mean William won’t need any more dialysis and he can start looking to the future and things such as going back to college.
“The joy of William’s transplant will always be tempered by what another family have had to go through to give William this chance. We’ll always be grateful for their selflessness and generosity. William calls it a special gift but it’s the biggest gift anyone could give. Words can’t thank them enough.”
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by medical treatment disputes at our dedicated protecting your rights section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.