Family's Anger over Alder Hey Blunder; Parents Angry, Upset and Disgusted

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), May 14, 2002 | Go to article overview

Family's Anger over Alder Hey Blunder; Parents Angry, Upset and Disgusted


Byline: Claire Tolley

ALDER Hey children's hospital last night sought to allay fears of a fresh organ retention scandal after an administrative blunder.

Parents of a six-year-old boy were told parts of their son's organs had been retained after a postmortem two years ago despite previous assurances that was not the case.

But last night the hospital said the retention of tissue samples at post-mortem was entirely different to the systematic organ stripping carried out by rogue pathologist Dick van Velzen.

Kieran Peers died at Alder Hey after suffering swelling of the brain following a seizure in March 2000.

Liverpool coroner Andre Rebello ordered samples to be taken of Kieran's tissue to allow a pathologist to ascertain his cause of death.

Under the law, no consent is needed for essential tissue to establish how Kieran died. However, the family, from Deganwy, North Wales, were informed that samples had been taken for the post-mortem.

But the family claim they were told by staff at Alder Hey that procedures had been changed and only ``thumb nail'' pieces of tissue would be kept.

When they checked last May the hospital told them only blocks and slides were retained.

But last month Alder Hey sent them a letter saying ``substantial'' parts of their son's organs, including his brain and lungs, had been found in the hospital mortuary.

Last night Michael Peers, 40, said: ``We feel angry, upset, disgusted, all the different emotions you can go through.

``We were told that minuscule pieces would be kept to help find out the cause of death. So to find out they had substantial parts was like losing him all over again.

``We had a lot of faith in the hospital and we feel very let down.''

However, officials last night said the terminology of the second letter to the Peers family was misleading because its use of the word organ retention implied whole organs were taken from Kieran's body.

After yesterday's revelations Mr Rebello was forced to go to Alder Hey Hospital to see whether the amount of tissue taken to establish the cause of death correlated with the report by the pathologist.

Last night, he stressed that was the case, adding: ``No whole organs were retained in the Kieran Peers' case. …

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