A world-renowned surgeon is being investigated over claims he secretly hoarded thousands of bones belonging to patients he had operated on.
Derek McMinn, the inventor of a pioneering hip resurfacing technique used on former European Open champion Andrew Murray, has been suspended from Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham where he carried out most of the surgeries, according to the hospital’s owner.
Dr McMinn allegedly kept the bones of at least 5,224 patients he operated on at the private hospital, the Independent reported, according to a leaked report by BMI Healthcare – which runs the hospital.
Circle Health Group, which acquired BMI Healthcare in June this year, said the hospital is now under new leadership and in a public statement that it was taking the issues “incredibly seriously”.
A spokesperson said: “We will leave no stone unturned in investigating these historic issues.
“They have all been reported to the appropriate authorities and we will co-operate closely with regulators to resolve them.”
Circle Health Group said Dr McMinn was immediately suspended and “recommendations and learnings have been made to staff”.
The Independent reports Dr McMinn – who did not reply to HuffPost UK’s request for comment through his website – is accused of collecting and storing body parts from patients over 25 years, breaching the Human Tissue Act, which prohibits the removing, storing or using of human tissue without appropriate consent.
He is also accused of keeping some of the bones at his farmhouse in Worcestershire, the Independent reports, and the matter has been referred to West Mercia Police.
The Care Quality Commission was first made aware of the issue in July last year, and the matter was reported to the Health Tissue Authority and General Medical Council the following month.
Investigations have continued over the past year, with the matter also referred to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – which subsequently took no further action.
A spokesperson for the Human Tissue Authority said: “Following an investigation after concerns were raised at the BMI The Edgbaston Hospital, we made a referral to the police.
“We cannot comment further on the police investigation.”
A spokesperson for West Mercia Police said: “We are currently investigating an allegation of Breach of Statutory Licensing requirements under the Human Tissue Act 2004 following a referral from the Human Tissue Authority. Our investigation relates to a private premises in Worcestershire.
“We are working with the relevant authorities as part of our on-going investigation.”
According to his online profile on The McMinn Centre website, which is also in Birmingham, Dr McMinn has performed more than 3,500 hip resurfacings and over 6,000 total hip replacements for patients “including several high profile athletes”.
He graduated from St Thomas’ Hospital in London in 1977 where he won the Cheselden medal and first prize in surgery.
“Surgeons come from around the world to observe and train with Mr McMinn in Birmingham,” the website states.
McMinn is understood to deny any wrongdoing.