An animal rights group is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to levy a fine of at least $10,000 against Nationwide Children's Hospital over botched research on a pig.
Researchers were performing surgeries on pigs as part of a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to develop an engineered gut tissue to treat an ailment in human infants.
An April 1 letter from Dr. Dennis Durban, Nationwide's Chief Scientific Officer, to the National Institutes of Health says during a February 28 procedure, a researcher broke surgery protocol.
"To prevent stricture of the gut, a bypass loop was created in the intestine. This is a significant deviation from the approved protocol. The animal was euthanized on March 3, 2019 as it met humane endpoints defined in the (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee) protocol. Necropsy revealed leakage from the gut surgical site," Durbin wrote.
The letter goes on to say “At the request of the IACUC, the PI barred the researcher from further work with animals pending resolution of the IACUC investigation and the development of a remedial plan for the researcher."
A hospital spokesperson says the National Institutes of Health accepted the hospital's remedial plan for the researcher, which included completion of training courses on research integrity, three months of supervised work, and the promise to notify NIH of future serious violations of research protocol.
In a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Michael Budkie with the group Stop Animal Exploitation Now wrote “The death of this pig was entirely unnecessary and the leakage of the surgical site clearly demonstrates the truly flawed nature of the botched procedure. It is also clear that the leakage from the surgical site led to the decision to euthanize."
The complaint calls for fines of $10,000 per infraction against Nationwide Children's under the Animal Welfare Act.
A Nationwide Children's spokeswoman confirmed the letter was written by Dr. Dennis Durban and said the hospital self-reported the incident, but declined further comment.