A NORTH-EAST mother who will celebrate her 15th double lung transplant anniversary next month has welcomed new proposals which could increase the rate of lung transplants and save more lives.

Vicky Pettersen, 43, from Redcar, was diagnosed with the life-shortening condition cystic fibrosis when she was three-years-old and by the age of 22 she was on the waiting list for a double lung transplant.

Just before her transplant in April 1999 she was in poor health and dependent on oxygen.

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The call for changes to how donated lungs are made available for transplantation has come from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

The trust is concerned at the number of donated lungs which are never transplanted because of strict rules and wants a new national lung allocation scheme.

Under current rules only about 20 per cent of lungs donated are actually transplanted in the UK - yet one in three people with cystic fibrosis died waiting for a lung transplant.

In a report published today (Monday) the Cystic Fibrosis Trust make 13 recommendations including new rules which should enable more lungs to be used for transplantation.

The report also calls for the standardisation of transplant surgery across England and a change the organ donation law to a system of presumed consent.

Mrs Petterson, who is married to husband Erik and has a 20-year-old son, Anthony, said: “It is a tragedy that people die on the transplant waiting list if there are ways of overcoming the amount of organs that get discarded.

"If I hadn’t received a transplant when I did I wouldn’t be here telling you my story and my son would have grown up without a mother.”