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Monday, 29 January, 2001, 08:47 GMT
'We buried a shell'
James died in February 1991
Janet Dacombe with baby James who died aged just three months
Janet Dacombe held the first funeral for her son James Christian Hopper ten years ago.

She held a second funeral in November 1999.

Just before Christmas this year she had a third after hospital bosses at Alder Hey told her there were still more organs to be returned.

Although happy that the Alder Hey report has finally been published Mrs Dacombe says it has still left a number of questions needing answers.

"It has answered some, but there are many more questions I would have liked answered.

"I feel particularly angry and frustrated that I and many other parents did not get the opportunity to give evidence in person," she said.

After James died following surgery for holes in the heart the hospital took his brain, kidney, intestine and heart without permission.

Mrs Dacombe, of West Kirby, Wirral, says hospital bosses at Alder Hey deceived her and everyone who loved James.

"We have all been deceived. There were hundreds of us at the first funeral. We were all deceived because what we buried was a shell.

Christian burial

"We thought that we had a Christian burial, but found that they had kept a lot of his organs"

"I was really annoyed that we had to have the third funeral. I could not bear to open the grave again so the vicar said we could put the remains elsewhere in the churchyard.

She said the news had hit James' brother Justin particularly hard.

Justin was only six when his little brother died aged just a couple of months old.

"He remembers James well as he used to sit by his hospital bedside. James never ever came home.


We were all deceived because what we buried was a shell

Janet Dacombe

"Justin came to the second funeral and managed to say a couple of prayers, but he couldn't face a third one," she said.

Traumatic events

Mrs Dacombe, who is remarried to Michael and has two other children Matthew, aged eight and Alexander aged six, says the family has needed counselling to help them get over the tragic events revelations of the last couple of years.

"It has affected us all.

Justin Hopper with brother James
Justin Hopper was just six when baby James died

"If those organs had been used I would have been pleased but they hadn't and it has devastated us."

Mrs Dacombe was so badly affected that she had to give up her job nursing.

But says she has great faith that the tragedy will have a positive outcome.

"Probably good will come out of it for other families," she said.

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