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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Doctor 'removed organs' says GMC
Dr Dick van Velzen
Dr Dick van Velzen had failed to turn up for the hearing
A Dutch pathologist did secretly order the removal of organs from dead children's bodies in Liverpool, the General Medical Council has said.

Professor Dick van Velzen, 56, took the organs without the relatives' consent at Alder Hey Children's Hospital.

A GMC Fitness to Practise Panel, sitting in Manchester, said on Thursday it found almost all the charges against Professor van Velzen proved.

They must now decide if they amount to serious professional misconduct.

Professor van Velzen, from Oegstgeest in Holland, worked at the hospital at the height of the organ retention scandal from 1988 to 1994.

There was so much material in some of the pots that it was in quite a bad condition
Former laboratory officer, Paul Dearlove
He chose not to attend the GMC tribunal hearing and has not sent any legal representation on his behalf.

If the pathologist is found guilty he could be struck off the UK medical register.

Earlier in the hearing, Andrew Collender QC, counsel for the GMC, said Professor van Velzen had caused the parents of the children whose organs he removed "considerable and understandable distress".

He said: "At the heart of the charges against Dr van Velzen was his practice, while at Alder Hey, of removing and retaining the internal organs of infant patients following post mortem examinations.

"Investigations carried out after September 1999 found more than 2,000 pots containing organs from approximately 850 post mortem examinations in store at the hospital."

A former laboratory officer at Alder Hey told the panel that Professor van Velzen kept the pots of body parts in a "filthy" cellar below his laboratory.

Fail to complete

Paul Dearlove said: "The cellar was filthy and there was so much material in some of the pots that it was in quite a bad condition."

The GMC panel found 46 out of the 48 charges against Professor van Velzen proved.

It decided the pathologist did fail to complete post mortem examination reports within a "proper and reasonable time".

They also found that Professor van Velzen sometimes claimed to have examined organs more thoroughly than he did and determined the causes of death without doing enough research.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday, when the panel will reconvene to decide whether Professor van Velzen is guilty of serious professional misconduct.




SEE ALSO:
Doctor 'stored organs in cellar'
08 Jun 05 |  Merseyside
Pathologist 'kept boy's organs'
07 Jun 05 |  Merseyside
Doctor 'ordered organ retention'
06 Jun 05 |  Merseyside
Alder Hey doctor cleared by GMC
17 Dec 03 |  Health


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