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Report on organ retention condemns doctors, management, and coroner

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.322.7281.260/c (Published 03 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:260
  1. Mark Hunter
  1. Liverpool

    A catalogue of deception and malpractice by an unethical pathologist, compounded by severe management failings and an evasive and paternalistic attitude towards bereaved parents, are the main findings of the long awaited inquiry into Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

    The report is every bit as scathing as described by the health secretary, Alan Milburn, with the bulk of its criticism aimed at pathologist Professor Dick van Velzen, who worked at Alder Hey between 1988 and 1995.

    However, the report also contains caustic condemnation of coroner Roy Barter, Professor van Velzen's pathology colleagues, and the management teams of both Alder Hey Hospital and the University of Liverpool.

    The report comes after a one year inquiry into how thousands of organs taken at postmortem examination—often without the parents' consent—were stored by Professor van Velzen, apparently without the knowledge of senior hospital and university officials.

    The practice of obtaining organs without consent was exposed during …

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