More than 50 families whose babies died at the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool face holding a third funeral after the hospital said yesterday it had discovered a store of brain tissue from dead children.

More than 50 families whose babies died at the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool face holding a third funeral after the hospital said yesterday it had discovered a store of brain tissue from dead children.

The parents, whose children died at the hospital between 1990 and 1995, were told last year that some of their babies' organs had been removed for medical research. They say this was done without their knowledge or consent.

The removal of more than 800 children's organs by a University of Liverpool laboratory is the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by Alan Milburn, the Secretary of State for Health.

The latest revelation by the hospital means that many families who buried their children for a second time with the organs that were recoverednow face a third funeral to bury the brain tissue.

It is understood that 146 samples of cerebellum - the brain's "autopilot" at the back of the head which is involved in co-ordinating movement and maintaining balance - was removed from the babies and stored separately. It is thought they were used by a Liverpool University student as part of a research project.

The existence of the tissue store emerged as university staff were cataloguing the body parts held by the institution.

A further 62 families who had been given the all clear may be told that their children's organs had been retained by the hospital. A "small number" of organs stored at the University Institute of Child Health at Alder Hey, remain unidentified, the university said.

Ed Bradley, the acting chairman of the parents' support group, PITY II, said the families were devastated. "Parents are constantly being battered by new disasters and we wonder how much more parents will have to take," he said. "Alder Hey has constantly told us that we have all the information and they are telling us the truth. Then we find out that there is more."

Mr Bradley's daughter, Niamh, died in September 1990 when she was 38 days old. "What other research has been carried out without the parents' knowledge? We hope the university has been more open with the independent inquiry than with us," he said.

Alder Hey and the University of Liverpool said they regretted the situation and were working to try to reduce the stress to the parents involved. They said in a joint statement: "The trust's process of cataloguing children's organs previously stored at the Myrtle Street university building, now located at Alder Hey, has been concluded. As a result of this detailed exercise, brain tissue not previously catalogued has been identified.

"This tissue, containing of the cerebellum (approximately 10 per cent of the brain), had been stored separately as the subject of a research study, but was subsequently moved with other organs when they were transferred to Alder Hey in June. The fact that this had not been previously catalogued came to light during this exercise."

Ian Cohen, the solicitor forparents said: "I am appalled that we are 10 months on and new damaging information is coming out of Alder Hey. I have very serious concerns as to how much certain parents are able to take. Steps must be taken to make sure there are not fresh revelations coming out on a monthly basis."

Liam Donaldson, the Government's Chief Medical Officer, and the Royal College of Pathologists have already issued new guidelines on storing body parts.

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