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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 11:49 GMT
Woodland memorial for heart babies
Memorial grove to the heart babies
The one-acre grove memorial will opened in April 2003
Children who died in the heart surgery scandal at Bristol Royal Infirmary will be remembered by a memorial woodland glade.

The scandal dates from 1998 when it was discovered death and brain damage rates in children who underwent cardiac surgery at the hospital was up to double the national average.

Grieving families also discovered the hearts and organs of the dead children had been retained for research and testing without their permission.

Fragile Angels, an organisation representing some of the children's families, has arranged with the Woodland Trust for an acre of ancient broadleaf woodland to be donated free as a memorial.

Marie Edwards's daughter Jazmine died in June 1993
Marie Edwards's daughter Jazmine died in June 1993
The one-acre grove at the Clanger and Pickett Woods near Westbury, Wiltshire, will be officially opened on 22 April.

Organiser Marie Edwards' five-and-a-half month-old daughter Jazmine died in June 1993, after a switch-type heart operation at the hospital.

Ms Edwards, 34, from Melksham, Wiltshire, said: "This long-awaited memorial is about regaining control of our children's memories and placing them back with their families.

"It's not about apportioning blame.

"Due to the legal and political intervention, our children's memories were wrenched from us.This memorial will help us, the families, to have public closure."

"We have found that often people are comforted by having a tangible, living memorial for their loved ones

Ben Earl
"This memorial will help us, the families, to have public closure. We can honour and value our children peacefully from this beautiful place of reflection which will always be here."

Ben Earl, the regional development officer of the Woodland Trust said: "We know that nothing will ever remove the pain that families and friends feel at their tragic losses.

"We have found that often people are comforted by having a tangible, living memorial for their loved ones. Picket and Clanger Woods in Westbury are ancient woods that carry the history and memories of many generations."

Medical register

A public inquiry was ordered into the BRI scandal following a General Medical Council (GMC) investigation.

The GMC hearing found surgeons James Wisheart, Janardan Dhasmana and trust chief executive, John Roylance, guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Dr Roylance and Mr Wisheart were struck off the medical register.

Mr Dhasmana was banned from operating on children for three years.


Click here to go to Bristol

Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
Full coverage of the Bristol heart babies inquiry report

Government response

Key stories

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Background briefing

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Bristol year by year
See also:

17 Jul 01 | Health
05 Jul 01 | Health
09 Feb 00 | Health
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