Cancer patients’ hope of children destroyed by James Paget Hospital

A Norfolk hospital that deprived 34 cancer patients of the chance to have children by destroying their sperm samples has vowed that the error will never happen again.

The James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston destroyed the samples, which had been taken before patients underwent surgery or radiotherapy for conditions such as testicular cancer and leukaemia which can leave men infertile, in 2010.

Samples are stored for free for five years, and for a fee of �120 per year after this.

But instead of making several attempts to contact the men to see if they wished to pay to continue the service, as is required by the code of practice, they sent out letters, and those who did not reply in four weeks had their samples destroyed.

One man found out when he replied two days after his samples had been destroyed and an investigation revealed the extent of the errors.

A hospital spokesman said: 'A full investigation was carried out and an action plan developed with the assistance of the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The actions detailed in the plan are complete and a recent HFEA inspection was found to be satisfactory.'

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: 'Even if these patients get compensation, that doesn't restore what they've lost.

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'My heart goes out to all these people.'

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