Mother of court dispute teenager ‘blown away’ by kidney donor response – lawyer

William Verden, 17, who has kidney disease and is on dialysis, is at the centre of a treatment dispute in the Court of Protection

26 February 2022

A woman who appealed for help after saying her teenage son needs a kidney donor has been “blown away” by the response, a lawyer has said.

William Verden, 17, who has kidney disease and is on dialysis, is at the centre of a treatment dispute.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is scheduled to oversee a hearing in Liverpool next week in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves, to decide what treatment options are in the teenager’s best interests.

William’s mother, Ami McLennan, 45, from Lancaster, made a public appeal for a donor to help her son.

Ami McLennan with her son William Verden (Family handout/PA)
Ami McLennan with her son William Verden (Family handout/PA)

Liz Davis, a lawyer based at firm Irwin Mitchell, which represents Ms McLennan, said: “She has been blown away by the messages of support she has received from the public and those who have come forward to register an interest in becoming a donor.”

Ms McLennan says a transplant is a “feasible option”.

However, specialists treating William, who has autism, at Manchester Children’s Hospital say a transplant is not in his best interests.

Lawyers representing the hospital’s governing trust, the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to consider the case and make decisions.

The judge has heard that William suffers from steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome.

She outlined the opposing arguments being put forward about treatment options in a ruling on legal issues following a preliminary hearing earlier this year.

“The Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust has sought declarations in relation to William’s capacity and best interests regarding his treatment options,” Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said.

“The trust’s position… is that they oppose transplant for a series of the reasons they have set out, essentially that William will require sedation and ventilation for possibly up to six weeks to ensure that he complies with the interventions post-operatively and that the prospect of recurrence of the steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome is high, about 80%.

“His mother opposes the trust’s application.

“She relies on expert evidence which points more towards a 50% chance of recurrence and the same expert says that a transplant is a feasible option and gives to William a reasonable potential for a good long-term outcome.”

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