Bristol man orders Kindle ebook reader, but receives tumour sample instead

'When I opened it I had quite a shock,' said Mr Potten, an environmental consultant

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A sample from a California cancer patient’s tumour was mistakenly delivered to a man in Bristol who had ordered a Kindle ebook reader.

James Potten, 37, told BBC News that he opened the FedEx package to discover a box marked “patient tumor – specimen enclosed”.

It was supposed to have been sent to London’s Royal Free Hospital.

“When I opened it I had quite a shock,” said Mr Potten, an environmental consultant.

“My name was on the outside, but the contents weren't what I expected. I haven't opened the sealed box, which says exempt patient tissue, as it doesn't belong to me.

“The tracking code on the item had the same first five and last three numbers as my order but it wasn't my Kindle.

“I've been trying to get FedEx to collect it as it is potentially a sample that needs to be tested and sent back with some urgency. I don't know where my Kindle is, but if it is at the Royal Free I'd be happy to do an exchange.”


The Royal Free Hospital confirmed that a package “intended for one of its institutions … was delivered to an address in Bristol”.

“We will await answers from the delivery company as to how this mistake was made,” it said.

FedEx, which collected the tumour sample from Mr Potten on Sunday, told the BBC that it “regretted the error” and “will consider future changes to our processes”.