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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 February, 2004, 14:14 GMT
Hospital admits errors over sperm
Southmead Hospital
The hospital has put in place new measures
A hospital in Bristol that accidentally destroyed the sperm of 28 men has admitted liability.

The men were being treated for cancer, which was liable to leave them infertile, when the sperm was destroyed at Southmead Hospital last June.

The families involved have said they will seek compensation. The North Bristol NHS Trust has put measures in place to prevent a repetition of events

Blame is being placed on a fault which developed with a sperm freezer.

We welcome the details and the improvements suggested. But it is all tinged with sadness
Solicitor Jonathan Green

A report into the situation said the freezer - one of two - was going to take six weeks to be replaced.

Until then, staff were told to top it up daily with liquid nitrogen.

This was not done on 27 June, and over the weekend the freezer thawed and the sperm was destroyed.

One of the solicitors acting for the families, Jonathan Green, from Foot Anstey and Sargeant, told the BBC: "The Trust has been very honest and has set out what it proposes to do to stop this happening again.

"We welcome the details and the improvements suggested. But it is all tinged with sadness. The whole thing is described as 'avoidable' and it is still very raw."

The Trust will now install a more reliable alarm system; ensure extra monitoring of the freezers and split sperm samples between different freezers.

Cancer patients seek fertility damages
11 Aug 03  |  Bristol/Somerset
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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