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Nottingham General Hospital

Volume 655: debated on Monday 5 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been drawn to the practice prevalent at Nottingham General Hospital of human bones removed in operations being given to nurses to wear as ear-rings; and what disciplinary steps he has taken or proposes to take.

Then how does the hon. Lady explain that one of the surgeons in the operating theatre admitted that this practice exists and that he and his colleagues have given such bones to nurses, that one of the nurses in the operating theatre has said that this is common practice, and that other members of the staff have freely admitted this to the Press? How can the hon. Lady give such an answer when these statements are all on record? Will she make a further inquiry to see that any other barbaric practices of this kind are discouraged?

Both the nurses and the surgeon have strenuously denied making such statements; 220 nurses connected with ear, nose and throat work in any way have been interviewed and all deny that such a practice could have existed. The bone itself is only 3 mm. and I do not believe that it could even make an ear-ring. I am glad the hon. Gentleman asked this Question because it enables me to nail this lie.

How is it possible to call this barbaric? Even if this thing were true, these are only bone fragments, no longer required, which are taken out, just as gall stones are taken from the gall bladder. Will she not agree with me that even gall stones can be very attractive when polished and threaded and turned into a necklace?