Human Tissue Authority

The regulator for human tissue and organs

BBC's Holby City: living liver donation and transplant

Issue date: 
12 June 2014

The Human Tissue Authority (HTA) comment on last night's Holby City:

“Last night’s Holby City (Tuesday 17 December), a popular BBC hospital drama, featured the storyline of a character seriously ill and in need of a liver transplant. Although we understand this was a fictional storyline, it was unrepresentative of the process for living organ donation in the UK and made no reference to the law and the how the HTA ensures this type of donation is handled safely and appropriately.

“The HTA works closely with NHS Blood and Transplant to ensure appropriate systems are in place to support living organ donation.

“All living organ donations are assessed by the HTA as required by the Human Tissue Act 2004. The HTA ensures donors are aware of any risks associated with transplants, that they have not been offered any reward to donate and have not been put under pressure to do so. Potential donors and recipients are interviewed by an Independent Assessor before transplants can be approved.

"In very urgent cases where a family member is willing to be a donor, all those involved in living donation work together to ensure that this happens. A surgeon would never be faced with the dilemna presented in the programme.

“If the events which occurred in last night’s episode happened in reality, the transplant – without HTA approval – would be illegal under the Human Tissue Act and an offence would have been committed."

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