An inquest looking into the deaths of four children at Great Ormond Street Hospital heard that they were caused due to an unexpected failure of a technique that has previously been successfully used to freeze stem cells.
The inquest heard that the problems caused in freezing the cells were responsible for the failure of the bone marrow transplant in four children, aged between one and 12 years, who were suffering from cancer and which ultimately led to their deaths spread over a period of one year. Authorities at Great Ormond Street have admitted that they would have been able to save the life of one of the children, who was four years old, had they reacted quickly when the problems with the transplant first started to emerge.
While the hospital revealed that it has overhauled its freezing procedures in order to ensure that a similar incident is not repeated, a spokesperson said that there were no indications that their freezing procedure would fail. "Before giving our patients any frozen cells we carried out tests, which are standard across most laboratories in the UK, to ensure they were alive and viable. All of the samples passed these tests, so there was nothing to suggest there was a problem at this stage", the spokesperson added.