Lung transplant patient begs for new home as mouldy flat may ‘hasten her death’


Lisa Grainger, 31, has cystic fibrosis and is waiting for a second double lung transplant as her body is beginning to reject her first. She has been told that the conditions in her flat could “hasten her death”

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Mum speaks about daughter’s struggles with damp flat

A double lung transplant patient has been told her mouldy council flat “could hasten her death” if she continues living there, but says her pleas to move have fallen on deaf ears.

Lisa Grainger has Cystic Fibrosis and is desperate to be re-homed from her damp one-bed flat in the Kingstanding area of Birmingham – where she is having to pay rent and bills for but cannot live in over fears for her health.

The 31-year-old had a double lung transplant in March 2018 and moved into the Birmingham City Council property in October of that year.

Lisa was in and out of hospital with chest infections every two-weeks by Christmas 2018.

When she left hospital in June 2019 she moved in with her mother and has not returned to the flat due to its damp condition.

Lisa is pictured at her mum’s home with mum Martine
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Image:

Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

Lisa is on the donor list again for a second double lung transplant – with her body rejecting the first set.

Her family claim that living in the mouldy flat “has not helped her health” and doctors advised her to move to alternative accommodation as it could “hasten her death”.

Despite bidding on many properties and submitting evidence of her life-threatening condition, Lisa feels like she has been “lost in the system”.

Damp shown in the kitchen of the council flat
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Image:

Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

The city council said it had repaired “a minor area of damp/mould” but would liaise with Lisa on her housing needs.

Lisa told BirminghamLive: “It’s frustrating as I do want a level of independence, but I cannot live in that flat.

“I had a new lease of life after the first transplant, but now I feel I’m back to square one with everything.”

Damaged furniture and de-humidifier in the living room
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Image:

Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

In November 2019, Dr Richard Thompson, a consultant physician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, wrote in a letter to Lisa that “continued exposure to mould may hasten your death. I hope this is clear enough for the relevant authorities.”

While Dr Amit Adlakha, an NHS respiratory medicine consultant from the same hospital, also wrote a letter about Lisa’s case in July 2020.

He stated that “mould infections are especially deadly in lung transplant recipients.”

He said: “Living in an environment where there is visible mould clearly has the potential to be disastrous and she should be considered in the highest possible category of risk with respect to developing such a mould infection.

“The consequence of this clearly could be fatal for her. Therefore, I would wholeheartedly support an immediate move to alternative accommodation.”

Lisa is on the waiting list for a second double-lung transplant
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Image:

Nick Wilkinson/Birmingham Live)

Lisa said mould grew on walls in the kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. Although council workers have come out and used anti-mould paint it continues to grow back.

The council offered Lisa a flat in Erdington – but as it was on the 8th floor she was unable to accept.

She said her lungs only work at 20 percent capacity, so ideally she would need a ground floor flat and a second bedroom for a carer to accommodate her needs.

Lisa’s mum and carer Martine, from Great Barr, added: “The last two years has left us so frustrated. We’re going around and around in circles.

“Lisa is going into rejection (lungs) and we think it’s because it’s down to the mould that was in her council flat.

“Lisa is paying for a flat that she can’t even visit, never mind live.

“The people we sent the doctors letters saying ‘living in that flat will hasten Lisa’s death’ apparently that isn’t strong enough for Birmingham City Council.

“I want them to do something about it. It’s not good enough. I want the council and the chief executive to start treating Lisa as her own child. Would she put her own child through this?”

The mother-of-three and former charity fundraiser added: “It’s disgusting. Lisa’s being ignored and she’s paid into this system.

“I’ve had to give up my job to look after Lisa. If they think they can ignore us they can think again.”

A council spokesperson told BirminghamLive: “We are aware of Miss Grainger’s complaints and visited the property on Tuesday (23 November) when a minor area of damp/mould was identified and appropriate repairs were raised.

“We will continue to liaise with Miss Grainger to review her housing needs and how we can support her to resolve any issues.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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