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A world-renowned surgeon who pioneered the hip replacement technique that rescued Andy Murray's tennis career hoarded thousands of body parts over 25 years, it has been reported.
Derek McMinn kept the bones of at least 5,224 patients whom he had operated on, The Independent reports.
A leaked report is said to state that McMinn did not have a licence to store body parts, nor the consent of patients to do so.
Staff at the Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham, are also said to have been aware of what McMinn was doing, with some even reported to have helped him preserve some of the patients' bones.
BMI Healthcare has also not informed any of McMinn’s patients, who were mainly private and paid £13,000 for the operation, but also included some referred by the NHS.
He is said to have been keeping patient bones at his seven-bedroom farmhouse in Worcestershire, as well as at his business premises in Birmingham.
The report states McMinn said he was keeping the bones for he retires in order to “keep his mind active”.
It is reported that West Mercia Police confirmed officers were investigating an alleged breach of the Human Tissue Act relating to “a private premises in Worcestershire” following a referral by the Human Tissue Authority.
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The discovery was made after a routine pathology audit at the hospital reportedly identified 20 pots of bones dating back to December 2018.
Senior managers are then said to have arranged for the samples to be collected by staff working for McMinn and taken to The McMinn Centre clinic nearby despite the fact that human tissue should be treated as clinical waste by hospital staff, placed for collection in bags and bins then taken for incineration.
The internal report is also said to have found no evidence McMinn had any approval for research – a requirement under the Human Tissue Act for storing patient samples – or that any research had been carried out.
Weeks later, the Care Quality Commission inspected the hospital and learned of the pots and later asked the hospital to confirm it had a licence from the Human Tissue Authority and that McMinn had consent from patients.
According to the internal report, McMinn emailed the hospital in August 2019 admitting “the samples were to be used for research, that he had been collecting tissue for 25 years, that he obtained verbal consent and that he had several thousand labelled samples in formalin pots with the corresponding notes, X-rays and investigations”.
McMinn was then suspended by the British Medical Institute, which also informed the General Medical Council (GMC) and Human Tissue Authority, but there are currently no GMC restrictions on his licence to practice.
The report concluded: “Mr McMinn has and continues to store material, namely tissue, that came from human bodies.” It added neither he nor his clinic had a licence from the Human Tissue Authority to do so.
The Independent reports that when approached, McMinn declined to comment.
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