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Tuesday, 30 January, 2001, 11:36 GMT
'I just felt disbelief'
Keith Grimes
Keith Grimes died while waiting for heart surgery
In August 1961 Annette Grimes buried her baby boy Keith who died while waiting for a heart operation.

Now 40 years later Mrs Grimes is facing another funeral for Keith after finding out that the hospital kept her baby's heart, lungs and oesophagus.

Hearing about the Alder Hey scandal last year Mrs Grimes decided to phone and see whether any of Keith's organ's had been retained by staff at the old Myrtle Street Hospital, now Alder Hey.


It is horrendous thinking of burying someone without their heart. I don't think I will ever get over it

Annette Grimes

But she admits that she didn't really feel she had anything to worry about because Keith's death was so many years ago.

"When they said that they had kept Keith's organs it was a real shock. I just felt disbelief.

"I don't know what it was that made me ring as I thought it was just a recent thing. I suppose it was just curiosity and you know that curiosity killed the cat. It nearly killed me."

Another burial

"Had they said to me the lungs have gone to someone else that would have been better, but I can't see what good having them on a jar has been.

"I went to that burial 40 years ago and it was horrendous. I don't think I could go through another burial. It is horrendous thinking of burying someone without their heart. I don't think I will ever get over it," she said.

Annette Grimes
Mum Annette Grimes faces another funeral for baby Keith

Mrs Grimes' husband Norman died just two years ago and although he was spared knowing anything about the organ retention it leaves her facing the new ordeal feeling very alone.

"I am glad that he died not knowing anything about it."

She has received a lot of support from daughters Susan, 39 and Julie, 35, but knows she will have to make the ultimate decisions about what to do with Keith's organs' herself.

"It hurts and it hurts, because I have no-one here to talk to. It is my decision it is very very hard.

"You don't think you are going to have to bury your child twice," she said.

Organs missing

Even now she doesn't know whether she will face fresh revelations and says hospital bosses have told her she will have to wait until after the inquiry to find out whether any more of Keith's organs are missing.

"I just don't know if that is all. They have said they can't say until after the inquiry so I can't finally bury him until after then."

But Mrs Grimes, who worked at the hospital as a domestic for years, hopes some good will come out of the tragedy and that no parents will ever again suffer as she and her family have suffered following the revelations over Keith.

"If people say no then they mean no. Had they said can we take a piece for tests then that is fine, but I don't understand all those pieces," she said.

Mrs Grimes is still suffering stress following last year's revelation and has had to take time off from working as a warden in sheltered accommodation.

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