Medical research under threat after Alder Hey scandal

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 24 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:448
  1. Mark Hunter
  1. Leeds

    Uncertainty over the legal and ethical implications of retaining human tissue is endangering several medical research programmes, leaving pathologists “in a hiatus” over the status of archived slides and tissue blocks, and putting postmortem diagnoses back 30 years, it was claimed this week.

    In the aftermath of the damning report into the retention of children's organs at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, researchers and pathologists are growing increasingly concerned that a combination of public distrust and government overreaction could severely restrict the supply of human tissue.

    Of particular concern is the uncertainty over what constitutes fully informed patient consent. Advice …

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