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Last Updated: Monday, 11 August, 2003, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
Cancer patients seek fertility damages
Southmead Hospital
The hospital has promised an investigation

Several cancer patients whose frozen sperm was destroyed when a freezer broke down at a Bristol hospital are to seek compensation.

The sperm of 28 patients were destroyed in June when one of two long-term storage tanks malfunctioned at Southmead Hospital.

The tanks held sperm samples which were given by the patients over the past year.

It is not yet known how many of the 28 men affected will now have lost the chance to become fathers.

'Rendered infertile'

Solicitors Foot Anstey Sargent, which represents five of the families, issued a letter of claim for compensation to North Bristol NHS Trust.

Jonathan Green, solicitor, said: "We sent the letter of claim last Wednesday and I received a letter of acknowledgement this morning.

"The hospital now has three months to investigate and decide on a course of action, but we are hoping for it to be turned round more quickly than that as it's been very distressing for all concerned.

"Some of these men had already been rendered infertile by their cancer treatments, so the sperm being destroyed has shut the door, so to speak, on being able to have children."

He added that the hospital had offered patients the chance to meet consultants and discuss their options.

Lack of space and resources were blamed for the accidental destruction of the sperm samples.

Resource crisis blamed for sperm loss
23 Jul 03  |  Bristol/Somerset
Freezer fault hits sperm bank
27 Sep 02  |  England
Probe ordered into sperm damage
18 Mar 02  |  Scotland
Fears over 'damaged' sperm samples
16 Mar 02  |  Scotland

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