Knebworth couple blast BBC Holby City show over transplant storm

PUBLISHED: 17:32 06 August 2013 | UPDATED: 17:32 06 August 2013

Kathryn and Rob Graham

Kathryn and Rob Graham

Archant

A KNEBWORTH couple waiting for an organ donation have blasted an “irresponsible” BBC medical show – saying it could put lives at risk.

Kathryn Graham and her husband Rob hit out at drama Holby City, which last week centred on a heart-swap plot.

Former Howe Dell School, Hatfield, teacher Kathryn, 51, has been waiting nearly two years for a lifesaving heart and lung transplant.

The family now fears the drama could undermine efforts to find donors.

Last week’s episode caused a storm after NHS Blood and Transplant officials branded it “misleading”, and claimed it had led to some donors asking to be taken off the transplant list.

The BBC says it has received around 50 complaints.

In the episode, the mother of a donor girl was told the recipient’s name.

She also spoke to the recipient’s transplant team, and saw surgeons start to operate – after he had withdrawn consent.

None of this would have happened in reality.

Rob, 54, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “Some people have accused me of overreacting, but when it’s something that’s so important, it’s just irresponsible.

“We were hurling abuse at the television when it was on.

“Some people may have been influenced by what they saw and they may decide they’re not going to sign up.”

Mother-of-two Kathryn, of Stevenage Road, Knebworth, was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, and was moved onto the transplant list within months.

A BBC spokesman said: “In no way was it our intention to suggest that our portrayal of a heart transplant was an accurate reflection of how such a scenario would typically be handled within the NHS.”

He said the storyline had been written to “dramatise” what would happen if protocols were ignored, and added: “This is an on-going story and in the weeks to come viewers will see the main character Mo face up to the fallout of her actions.”

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