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Monday, 10 September, 2001, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Family search for answers on missing kidney
Rhodes in Greece
Christopher Rochester died on his fourth day in Rhodes
The stepfather of a British holidaymaker who died after falling from a balcony in Greece said he is "determined" to find out what happened to his son's missing kidney.

Christopher Rochester, 24, from Chester-le-Street in County Durham, died in Rhodes Town Hospital after the accident on 11 June 2000.

When his remains were returned from Greece for burial in the UK it was discovered that one of the kidneys was not his.

It appeared that a Greek pathologist who carried out an autopsy on Mr Rochester's body swapped one of his kidneys with someone else's organ before returning the body to the dead man's family.

Christopher Rochester and his girlfriend
Christopher Rochester fell from a balcony
The Greek hospital denies any wrongdoing, but Mr Rochester's parents have now asked their local MP and MEP to lobby the Greek government on their behalf.

Mr Rochester's stepfather George Cummings said he is determined to find out what happened to the kidney and, if possible, have it buried with his stepson's body.

MEP Stephen Hughes, who represents the North East, is seeking urgent talks with the Greek ministers of health and justice to demand the whereabouts of the kidney.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, is also pressing the Foreign Office to make the Greeks investigate the case further.

Mr Cummings said: "Hopefully with the support of our government, we will get the answers that we've never had."

Trainee doctor

The family is afraid that the kidney may have been removed and then sold for transplant into another patient, perhaps in another country.

In July this year North Durham Coroner Andrew Tweddle recorded a verdict of accidental death contributed to by neglect in the case.

The coroner heard from an expert that the doctor who attended Mr Rochester may have been a trainee.

"This is a case that has given me great concern about the standards of medical care that Christopher received while he was in Rhodes,'" the coroner said.

His stepfather George Cummings said after the inquest: "Come hell or high water we are determined that the medical staff on duty that night will be held responsible."

Night of drinking

Family solicitor Terence Carney has said: "The family will now give consideration as to whether to pursue a civil action against the hospital authorities.

"They expect the same standard of care that they would get in a British hospital."

The inquest heard how Mr Rochester had to wait 40 minutes for an ambulance.

Mr Rochester had travelled to Rhodes with a friend to stay with his brother Keith who was a nightclub DJ in the party district of Faliraki.

He had only been on the island four days when the fatal fall occurred after a night out drinking with friends on 10 June 2000.

His friend, David Vest, told the court how Christopher had screamed with pain as hospital porters knocked into doors as they took him on a stretcher to an orthopaedic ward.

Within hours, he was dead.

The Greek authorities registered Mr Rochester's cause of death as oligaemic shock, bleeding to death, claiming the impact of his fall had severed two major blood vessels to the young man's kidney.

George Cummings on BBC Radio Four's Today Programme
"We want to know where his kidney has gone."
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