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Lynne Langley
"We need to know what happened to our children"
 real 28k

The BBC's Andrew Tomlinson reports
"Another family discovered their child's brain had been removed"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 13:22 GMT
Parents 'deceived over organ stripping'

Birmingham Children's Hospital Birmingham Children's Hospital has admitted retaining organs


Parents have called for a public inquiry into allegations that stripping of organs from dead children was far more widespread at a Birmingham hospital than the authorities first admitted.

Birmingham Children's Hospital admitted that it retained some organs from children for research without the families' knowledge in the aftermath of the public outcry into similar practices at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.


At the end of the day we are people with feelings and we need to know what happened to our children
Lynne Langley
However, a group of parents whose children died at the hospital now say that the hospital failed to reveal the full extent of the practice.

Lynne Langley's son Paul died at the hospital 15 years ago.

Ms Langley told BBC Radio's Today programme that at a meeting at the hospital last October the family was told that only Paul's heart was retained.

However, after persistent inquiries by the family it eventually came to light that Paul's brain had also been disposed of as clinical waste.

At the same time, it came to light that the brain of Ms Langley's brother's baby, who also died at the hospital, had been removed.

Ms Langley said: "It has completely destroyed both sets of families.

"At the end of the day we are people with feelings and we need to know what happened to our children."

Ms Langley said the hospital had apologised, but told the family that the practice was the norm in hospitals.


Rebecca Bowater Rebecca Bowater's heart and lungs were removed
Sharon Evan's daughter Rebecca died at 13 days from a heart condition.

Sharon and her partner Shaun Bowater signed a consent form allowing their daughter's tissue to be used for research, thinking only small samples would be taken.

However, they were stunned when they found out her entire heart had been retained, and last week further inquiries revealed her lungs had been removed too.

Further discoveries


The problem the parents in Birmingham are facing is no sooner do they think they have learned the worst, that it is as bad as it can be, then further discoveries are made
Richard Follis, solicitor representing Birmingham families
Richard Follis is a solicitor acting on behalf of the Langley family. He said a public inquiry should be held into procedures at Birmingham.

He said: "The problem the parents in Birmingham are facing is no sooner do they think they have learned the worst, that it is as bad as it can be, then further discoveries are made."

Mr Follis said the hospital had assured parents at the end of January that everyone had been fully informed of the position.

But that was a week before Rebecca Bowater's parents found out that her lungs had been retained.

"The parents in Birmingham are really having to unearth this information for themselves.

"They say that a public inquiry would get to the bottom of it and deal with it once and for all."

Birmingham Children's Hospital issued a statement apologising for the distress caused to families.

The statement said changes had been implemented to the consent procedures, and the unit was now waiting for national guidance.

An information help-line has been set up for parents.

A national inquiry into tissue and organ retention is currently underway.

It was set up following an admission by Alder Hey Hospital that a pathologist at the unit had stockpiled children's organs for research.

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See also:
03 Dec 99 |  Health
Inquiry into organ scandal
03 Dec 99 |  Health
Organ stripping: The reaction
21 Dec 99 |  Health
Hospital apologises for organ stripping
07 Oct 99 |  Health
Child organ stockpile prompts inquiry
14 Jan 00 |  Health
New row at organ scandal hospital
05 Dec 99 |  Health
Child-organ surgeon 'warned of time-bomb'
04 Dec 99 |  Health
Organ laws may be tightened

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