Health chiefs name 'stolen bone' hospitalsBones used in ops carried slight risk of infection

22 September 2006

 

Twenty-five UK hospitals may have received contaminated human body parts allegedly stolen in America, healthcare watchdogs have revealed.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it was naming the hospitals because public interest outweighed the potential breach of affected patients' confidentiality.

An alleged corpse-snatching ring in New York is accused of selling on the bones, ligaments and skin from more than 1,000 bodies.

The company at the heart of the scandal exported 82 pieces of bone to the UK last year which were then grafted on to patients needing hip or jaw operations.

Infection risk

Late last year US authorities ordered a recall of potentially tainted products and warned that many patients could have been exposed to diseases such as HIV, although the risk of infection was classed as minimal.

At the start of this year the MHRA alerted UK doctors about the potential problem and has also contacted the hospitals concerned.

A spokeswoman added: ‘We advised them that the infection risk was negligible, so that clinicians could decide what advice they should give to their patients.’

Affected hospitals

The hospitals contacted by the MRHA are: Airedale General Hospital in Keighley; Bupa Hartswood Hospital in Brentwood; Derriford Hospital in Plymouth; Doncaster Royal Infirmary; Guy's Hospital in London; Mayday University Hospital in Croydon; North London Nuffield Hospital in Enfield; North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary in Stoke-on-Trent; Northern General Hospital in Sheffield; Northwick Park and St Mark's Hospital in Harrow. The list continues with Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon; Royal London Hospital,; Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore; Scunthorpe General Hospital; Somerset Nuffield Hospital in Taunton; Southend Hospital; St George's Hospital in London; Taunton & Somerset Hospital ; Torbay Hospital; Warrington Hospital; Wellington Hospital in London and Wessex Nuffield Hospital in Eastleigh.

A further three hospitals were contacted by the National Assembly for Wales: Bupa Hospital Cardiff, Llandough Hospital, and University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.