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Cancer patients to sue over lost sperm

14 August 2003
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 221

A group of male cancer patients whose stored sperm samples were lost following a refrigeration fault at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, UK, are now seeking compensation. Sperm from 28 patients, taken before the men underwent cancer treatment that was likely to make them infertile, was lost after a long-term frozen storage tank broke down in June.

Solicitors representing five of the families have issued a claim for compensation to North BristolNHS Trust, reported the Guardian newspaper. 'The hospital now has three months to decide on a course of action, but we are hoping for it to be turned round more quickly than that as it has been very distressing for all concerned' said clinical negligence solicitor, Jonathon Green.

It is not yet known how many of the men have now lost their chance to have children. The hospital has apparently offered patients the chance to meet consultants and discuss their options. At the time, a hospital spokesperson also said that an inquiry has been launched into what went wrong with the freezer, and why the fault was not detected before the samples were ruined. Tim Lewis, North Bristol clinical director for clinical support, has said that the men will be offered additional fertility testing and counselling as appropriate.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
British cancer patients whose stored sperm was destroyed when storage tank failed sue hospital
Kaiser Network |  13 August 2003
Men sue over frozen sperm loss
The Guardian |  12 August 2003
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