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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 06:02 GMT 07:02 UK
Memorial to Bristol heart babies
The ceremony to unveil a memorial honouring children in the Bristol heart babies scandal
A cermemony was held to unveil the memorial
A memorial woodland glade has been opened in remembrance of the babies who died in the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) heart scandal.

The Woodland Trust donated one acre of woodland at woods near Westbury in Wiltshire.

The land has been given to Fragile Angels, an organisation representing some of the children's families.

A plaque remembering those babies and children who died, and those who suffered organ damage was unveiled on Tuesday.

This memorial is about regaining control of our children's memories and placing them back with their families
Marie Edwards

Maria Shortis' daughter Jacinta was just nine weeks old when she died in 1987

Mrs Shortis, from Bristol, said: "It has been a long journey for all of us. It's a day for closure, a day on which our children can really be free, that we can set their spirits free with this permanent memorial."

Fragile Angels founder Marie Edwards lost her five-and-a half-month-old daughter Jazmine in June 1993 following a switch-type heart operation at the BRI.

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

"It's not about apportioning blame."

Public enquiry

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

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

A public inquiry was ordered following a General Medical Council (GMC) investigation.

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

Dr Roylance and Mr Wisheart were struck off the medical register and Mr Dhasmana was banned from operating on children for three years.

Woodland memorial for heart babies
13 Feb 03  |  England
Disgraced surgeon loses appeal
30 Jul 02  |  England


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