Child organ doctor bids to clear name

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Professor Dick van Velzen, the pathologist at the centre of the Alder Hey organs scandal, has taken indefinite leave from his new job in Holland to try to clear his name.

Professor Dick van Velzen, the pathologist at the centre of the Alder Hey organs scandal, has taken indefinite leave from his new job in Holland to try to clear his name.

Canadian police want to question him after a cardboard box belonging to him was found to contain eight human organs.

The organs are believed to be those from at least one child aged about five. They were preserved in heat-sealed plastic bags.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest after the find in the Nova Scotia warehouse.

It is understood the cot death expert told bosses at the Westeinde hospital in The Hague that he needed time to sort out the situation in Canada.

Jan Wielan Bloemen, spokesman for the hospital which earlier this week pledged its support for the pathologist, confirmed Prof van Velzen was on "indefinite leave".

The professor left Liverpool's Alder Hey in 1995 to take up a new post at the IWK Health Centre in Nova Scotia.

Horrified workers in Dartmouth, Canada, found a stockpile of organs in a crate as they moved in to recover the professor's belongings stored since 1998.

They found 13 cardboard boxes. Twelve contained pig organs but the 13th contained eight human organs.

Lawyers representing British families are satisfied the organs do not belong to youngsters who died at Alder Hey.

A stockpile of organs removed from around 800 youngsters were last year uncovered in a University of Liverpool laboratory.

The discovery led Health Secretary Alan Milburn to order an independent inquiry.

Prof van Velzen has denied he is quitting his job in Holland and said Westeinde hospital is fully supporting him.

"My lawyer in Canada is contacting the lawyers of all the people who have sent me the biopsy samples to prove I had them for legitimate purposes," he told the Liverpool Echo.

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