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Anger after donor kidneys sent to Britain

The Irish Kidney Association has said it is "inexcusable" that a top Dublin hospital sent donor kidneys to Britain.

The organs were sent because a lack of available beds meant it was unable to offer them to Irish patients.

The incident occurred in the past few weeks when four kidneys and one pancreas became available for transplant.

Two of the kidneys were used in Temple Street Children's Hospital but the other organs were sent through Beaumont Hospital to the United Kingdom Transplant Service.

Beaumont said the decision came about after a higher than usual number of patients had received transplants in the preceding two days.

Following a meeting at the hospital, Beaumont said agreement was reached between the transplant team and management "on the allocation of additional suitable beds and associated specialist nursing should they ever be needed".

It said "longer-term plans are also being formulated in the context of the development of the living donor renal transplantation service".

Some 172 kidneys were transplanted in Ireland last year. There are 580 people awaiting kidney transplants and 25 awaiting pancreas operations.


The incident at Beaumont, which happened on January 26, is thought to be the first time kidneys have been given away because of an inability to offer them to patients in Ireland.

The Irish Kidney Associaton (IKA) said recipients could have been found in Ireland but added it was happy that the organs were not wasted.

Beaumont said that there was unusual pressure on the hospital at the time, as it carried out over twice the number of kidney transplants as is normal.

It said that usually two renal transplants are carried out every four days over the course of a year. At the time in question, seven patients received kidneys over two days.

The IKA said it is "extraordinary" that seven is the hospital's capacity. HSE chief Professor Brendan Drumm said they were working to increase the hospital's capacity.

In 2008, 136 deceased donor kidney transplants were performed at Beaumont and 12 of these transplants also included simultaneous transplant of a pancreas.

Ten extra kidney transplants were conducted via living donors, making an overall total of 146 kidney transplants in Ireland in 2008.