Judge Will Be Asked To Rule Whether Potentially Life-Saving Transplant Will Be In William Verden’s Best Interests
A legal challenge against a Hospital Trust’s decision not to offer a teenager a potentially life-saving kidney transplant is set to start.
William Verden, of Lancaster, has a rare kidney disease and is currently being kept alive through dialysis. However, the 17-year-old has been told that he only has at most 12 months before dialysis will stop working.
His family, including mum Amy McLennan want the youngster to be able to undergo a potentially life-saving kidney transplant. They have launched an appeal seeking possible donors, with a number of people coming forward wanting to help.
However, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has said that William should not be offered a transplant.
Medical treatment dispute lawyers representing William Verden's family
Amy, 45, believes the decision not to offer William a transplant has been made because he sometimes finds dealing with medical treatment difficult due to his autism.
Following the decision she instructed specialist medical treatment dispute and human rights lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to launch a legal challenge against the Trust’s decision.
Court set to decide what's in boy's best interests
The Court Of Protection is now due to hear the case. A judge will be asked to decide whether or not it is in William’s best interests to undergo a transplant.
Liz Davis the specialist lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing Amy, said: “This is a really emotive case which has prompted a lot of debate not only between Amy and the Trust, but generally about provision of medical treatment to people with autism and learning disabilities.
“Understandably all Amy wants is what any parent would – to be able to provide the best opportunities for their child.
“While Amy and the Trust have continued to try and work together to find an agreement this is an incredibly important and time-pressing issue so the courts are now being asked to make a judgment as to what’s in William’s best interests.
“Any has been blown away by the messages of support she has received from the public and those who have come forward to register an interest in becoming a donor. We continue to support Amy through this emotional time and are determined to ensure her voice is heard.”
Kidney disease: 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 current kidney function is around five per cent.
He is under the care of Manchester Children’s Hospital which is run by Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. William was initially on steroids but by May 2020, having reached end-stage kidney failure, he was having dialysis via his stomach at home 10 hours a day, six days a week.
Following tests Amy, William’s dad, Will, 44, and other relatives were not deemed to be suitable donors, prompting the family’s appeal.
Mum Amy McLennan launches donor appeal
A number of people have now come forward seeing if they can help William. As investigations start to assess suitability the family want to hear from other potential donors.
An expert instructed by the family and the hospital believes a kidney transplant has a 50 per cent chance of curing William’s disease and giving him a normal life.
Amy humbled by public response
Amy said: “Of course we’d rather not be in this position but we feel we’ve been left little option but to take this course of action. William is a fantastic lad and despite his illness leads an active life, enjoying many of the things boys his age do.
“We feel that the decision not to allow him the opportunity of a transplant is premature and wrong. We can’t thank enough everyone who has contacted us since they found out about William’s situation.
“It’s amazing and humbling to know so many people care about William. The decision on whether William should be able to have a transplant really could the difference between life and death.
“We believe that with a new kidney William could continue to thrive.”
A hearing is due to start in the Court of Protection at Liverpool Civil and Family Court on Monday and is due to last four days.
The court may not decide that the transplant should happen at all, and even if it does, it may not be successful, but his mum wants him to be given the chance.
More about kidney donation
Kidneys are the most commonly donated organs by living people. With around a third of all kidney transplants in the UK resulting from living donors, say NHS Blood and Transplant. Around 1,100 such operations are performed in the UK a year with a high success rate.
Donating a kidney to someone who is neither a relative nor a friend is known as directed altruistic donation. Prospective donors will need to undergo medical tests before a decision on whether they are a suitable donor is made.
More information can be found on the NHS Blood and Transplant website.
If you still want to proceed after following the steps on the page, select North West region and then the Manchester Royal Infirmary email address. Please mention William’s name when sending an email.
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.