[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Corpse 'brain patch' gave man CJD
Image of the brain
The patch was used to repair a membrane covering Mr Stratford's brain
A brain patch containing tissue from human corpses gave a man who later died CJD, a inquest has heard.

Coroner David Morris was giving court evidence about the death of Mr Simon Stratford, a father-of-four from St Neots in Cambridgeshire, in 2003.

Mr Stratford, 34, had the repair patch inserted into his head after surgeons removed a tumour on his skull in 1987.

Experts said he was likely to be the last person in the UK to come to light who had contracted CJD in this way.

I don't think there is any need for people to panic or be frightened if they underwent surgery during the 1980s
Professor Robert Will, consultant neurologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh

He said the evidence showed that the patch was a widely used product in hospitals and neither the manufacturers nor surgeons could have been aware of the dangers when it was in common use.

The Lyodura patch, used to repair the membranes covering Mr Stratford's brain in an operation at Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital in 1987, was withdrawn from sale by manufacturers a decade ago.

The manufacturers, West German company B Braun, told the court in a letter that it had stopped production because of public controversy regarding the ethics of using human tissue in the product.

Withdrawn

It said that 900,000 patches had been produced world-wide during a 28-year period.

Professor Robert Will, consultant neurologist at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and the founder of the UK's CJD surveillance unit, told the inquest that he was aware of 168 cases where patients had contracted CJD after having some kind of graft onto the membrane surrounding their brains.

He said there had been seven cases in Britain and, in six of those cases, the Lyodura patch had been involved.

Professor Will said statistics showed that CJD contracted during surgery emerged, on average, nine years later.

He said the longest incubation period had been 22 years.

"I don't think there is any need for people to panic or be frightened if they underwent surgery during the 1980s," he said, after the hearing.

"We think that the majority of cases have emerged by now. There is no reason to think there is going to be great numbers of cases emerging in the future.

"Mr Stratford may well be the last victim in the UK."

After the hearing in Huntingdon, Mr Stratford's widow Colleen, 37, said she was considering legal action.

A verdict of misadventure was recorded by the coroner.




SEE ALSO:
Irish vCJD case confirmed
10 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland
Surgeons to get CJD-risk advice
01 Oct 04 |  Health


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific