BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Health: Background Briefings: The Bristol heart babies  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Background Briefings
Medical notes
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
The Bristol heart babies Tuesday, 21 September, 1999, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Parents blast hospital over missing organs
Bethan Bradley died after a heart operation
Emotional parents have attacked the hospital at the centre of the Bristol babies heart scandal, claiming they were kept in the dark about plans to keep their children's organs after unsuccessful heart surgery.

The Bristol Heart Babies
They told the public inquiry into the Bristol Royal Infirmary of their pain and distress at discovering, years later, that their children had not been buried complete.

The inquiry heard on Monday how a mother took her baby daughter's heart home in a box after discovering it had been kept by the hospital.

The Bristol Royal Infirmary is accused of keeping parents in the dark
Paul Bradley, from Cardiff, said the decision of Bristol Royal Infirmary to remove six-year-old Bethan's brain, and parts of her lung and kidney, was "criminal".

He only found out about the missing parts five years after her death in 1993.

Bethan Bradley died a week after open-heart surgery carried out by shamed surgeon Mr James Wisheart.

Buried without the organs

Mr Bradley buried her without learning of the removal of the body parts.

He told the inquiry: "It may be over the top but we felt it was criminal what was done, it was very contemptuous to the dignity of our child that her body, as we saw it, was invaded and body parts stolen."

Had he been asked for permission to remove the organs at the time, he said, he would have refused.

Later, Sharon Tarantino, 29, from Gloucester, told the inquiry how she asked doctors not to carry out a post mortem on her daughter Corinna, who died after a hole in the heart operation.

She said she was "upset and shocked" to find out that Bristol Royal Infirmary had kept parts of her baby's liver, lungs and heart.

On asking for the post mortem report, she was told by staff it was "too complicated" for her to understand.

The inquiry also heard from Bristol mother Brenda Rix, who wept as she described how she buried her son Stephen without knowing his heart was missing.

She only found out about the hospital's actions earlier this year - 13 years after his death.

She said: "The distress which have all felt could have been alleviated by treating parents and patients as human beings rather than extensions of specimens."

The inquiry has already heard that there are more than 10,000 hearts kept by major UK hospitals, mainly to assist the teaching of new surgeons and cardiologists.

The four-member panel is examining the treatment of parents at Bristol.

The inquiry follows an investigation by the General Medical Council into paediatric heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

It led to the striking off of Mr Wisheart and former hospital chief executive Dr John Roylance, and the banning of another surgeon, Mr Janardan Dhasmana, from carrying out heart surgery on children.

See also:

15 Mar 99 | The Bristol heart babies
20 Sep 99 | The Bristol heart babies
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes