An Iraq war veteran from Britain died after receiving cancerous lungs from a heavy smoker.

Matthew Millington, 31, a corporal in the Queen’s Royal Lancers, had the operation to save him from an incurable respiratory condition that was discovered in 2006. At the time, he was given two years to live unless he had a transplant.

A donor was found and the double lung transplant went ahead in April 2007 at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. But the organs were from a donor who was believed to have smoked 30 to 50 cigarettes a day.

Six months after the transplant — a tumor was discovered.

Eventually, an investigation into the hospital pinpointed a string of problems, including difficulties with communication, record-keeping and patient handover.

In Millington’s case, it was found that an X-ray technician had failed to spot the growth of the cancerous tumor in its early stages.

As for the he hospital, it defended using smokers’ lungs for transplants, saying that all organs were screened rigorously.

"Without using such lungs, many more people would die without receiving a transplant," a hospital spokesperson said.

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