Alder Hay scandal

From:Alex Knisely


A histopathologist in charge of a pediatric hospital's autopsies was found
to have issued diagnoses not borne out by tissue examination and to have
retained portions of autopsy materials not specifically authorized for
retention.  The hospital's name is Alder Hay.

The British media made a bad situation worse; some patients and their
parents are now, I understand, requesting that even blocks and slides be
returned to their custody, rather than held on file.  (With some children's
caskets being exhumed serially on several occasions to deposit yet another

Frightened over-reaction by politicians, who direct hospital
administration, has worked against the discipline of anatomic pathology as

Retrospective studies of archival materials are now so tightly hedged about
as nearly to be impossible.  

And as far as harvesting of control tissues, or the work necessary to bring
new immunohistochemical studies "on line", and the like are concerned --
well, if specific permission was not given for specific research work (no,
a blanket "OK to retain and to use as seen fit" will NOT do), to use a
particular bit of a surgical-pathology specimen for such purposes could be
made out to contravene regulations, if not law.

The United Kingdom has not been a happy place to practice histopathology
for some while.

Alex K

At 11:01 24/10/02 -0500, Jackie.O' wrote:
>What was the Alder Hay scandal???
>                    Andrew Shand
>          >                             cc:
>                                                           Subject:
RE: The future of Histotechs                             
>                    10/24/2002 10:30 AM
>If you worked in the UK Joyce you would find it impossible to do that.  Our
>response to the Alder Hay scandal has been to produce an environment in
>though we can host the plastinated body exhibition,  none of us would
>contemplate such educational activities - even if we had full consent,
>permission forms pasted all over our tired little bodies.
>Andy Shand
>     -----Original Message-----
>     From: Weems, Joyce []
>     Sent: 24 October 2002 15:11
>     To:
>     Subject: RE: The future of Histotechs
>     We have a collection of specimens that we loan to health care
>     professionals to show in schools in the area. The response is amazing.
>     Our employees and physicians use them often for their children's
>     science/health class. We have slices of lungs  - normal, emphysema, and
>     cancer, a heart-lung combo with an embolus, several hearts ? bypass,
>     normal, valves, etc.  liver ? normal and alcoholic, kidneys, and a brain
>     that are the most popular ones. We talk about smoking, too much alcohol,
>     not eating properly, etc. When I do this (I have been requested a couple
>     of times)  I talk about Histology ? taking along a poster board showing
>     the process of handling a gallbladder ? and then show a collection of
>     stones.
>     I will now request that we all talk about this profession ? sent the
>     powerpoint program to a doc just now!
>     One of the most amazing things is that we have a heart transplant
>     who does this. He requested the specimens at the suggestion of one of
>     nurses a couple years after I started working here. We got to know each
>     other and became friends. He had a life changing spiritual experience
>     shortly before he received his new heart, in fact a death experience,
>     has become a spiritual and educational mentor for many young people.
>     I came here we had hearts everywhere ? and I got the bright idea to find
>     his. Our pathologist allowed me to give it to him. He not only speaks at
>     schools, but at churches. When he brings out his very own heart,
>     is touched and amazed. (I tell him he is the only one I know who truly
>     has his heart in his hand!)
>     Joyce Weems
>     Pathology Manager
>     Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta
>     404-851-7376
>     404-851-7831 - fax
Alex Knisely, MD
Consultant Histopathologist
Institute of Liver Studies
King's College Hospital
Denmark Hill
London  SE5 9RS  UK
+44 (0)20 - 7346 - 3125 telefax
+44 (0)20 - 7346 - 4627 office

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