Seriously-ill teen facing ‘race against time’ in court battle for life-saving kidney donation


A mother has issued a moving plea for a kidney donor to save her young son’s life.

“It’s a race against time, but finding someone kind enough to donate a kidney would mean the world to us,” Ami McLennan said.

Her son, 17-year-old William Verden is currently being kept alive through dialysis at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on Oxford Road.

He suffers from acute kidney disease and is at the center of a court treatment dispute.

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Specialists want a judge to decide if they can stop treating William, who also has autism.

Health bosses have said that he should not be offered the chance to have a kidney transplant, which has a 50 per cent chance of curing his disease and giving him a normal life, according to an expert instructed by the family and the hospital.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is due to analyze her case at a trial in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered, in Liverpool later this month.

The judge considered preliminary hearings at an online hearing on Tuesday.

William and his mother, Ami

Lawyers told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot that bosses at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, who have responsibilities for William’s care, wanted decisions on whether he should have a kidney transplant, continued haemodialysis, or whether ‘active treatment’ should be withdrawn.

The judge heard that the withdrawal of treatment would lead to William’s death.

Mrs McLennan, 45, from Lancaster, said she does not want treatment to end.

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A barrister representing her said at the hearing the teenager had ‘very bad’ kidney disease.

Victoria Butler-Cole QC told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot that William had few treatment options left – and was in a ‘pretty dire situation’.

“We are already at the stage where he has very few options left for his treatment,” Ms Butler-Cole QC told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot.

The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital

“He is in a pretty dire situation.”

“With the ongoing legal case the family is now also appealing for potential life-saving donors to come forward and help William,” said a spokesman for law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represents Ms McLennan, on Wednesday.

“If a living donor can be found, William would have the best chance of a kidney transplant being successful.”

Ms McLennan said tests had shown that relatives were not suitable donors.

“If any of us could give William one of our kidneys we wouldn’t hesitate for a second to do so,” she said.

“It’s a race against time but finding someone kind enough to donate a kidney would mean the world to us.

“We know it’s an incredibly selfless act for someone to agree to and there would be assessments to ensure suitability.”

Judges normally rule that patients at the center of Court of Protection proceedings should not be named in media reports, in line with their human right to respect for privacy and family life.

But Mrs Justice Arbuthnot ruled that William could be named after being told that his mother wanted to make the public appeal.

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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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