FROZEN brains kept for medical research melted after a freezer malfunctioned, a confidential report has revealed.
Specimens stored at -80C next to a kitchen were found in a pool of blood during a routine inspection.
The curator of the world-renowned Corsellis Collection, Professor JN Corsellis, based in Ealing, came back after his Christmas break and found the floor covered in decomposing brain tissue. Cleaners mopped up and binned more than 25 bags of waste, some of it thought to be potentially infectious.
The collection, one of the world's largest, was founded in the early 1950s and has been in Ealing since 1997.
A damning report into the incident, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, blasted health bosses at St Bernard's Hospital for not checking the freezer alarm.
The report also said the collection was too dangerous for the curator to visit on his own owning to the large amount of formalde hyde fumes in the air.
A spokesman for the West London Mental Health Trust, which is responsible for the collection, said: "In January 2009, a fault with a containment freezer regrettably caused a small number of the tissue samples in the Corsellis Collection to be damaged. No overall cases were lost as the freezer contained only limited specimens and each sample was only a very small part of a donation.
"The freezer is checked at least once a month as per Human Tissue Authority recommendations, and it was during such a routine check that the fault was found. The freezer alarm system has subsequently been addressed to help prevent a similar incident from occurring.
"The trust has been responsible for the collection for more than 12 years without prior incident."