Public mistrust in the medical profession is not new. We describe a series of street riots that took place in the city of Liverpool in north-west England in 1832 during a cholera epidemic. The disturbances were directed primarily against the local medical fraternity. The episode is of interest, since the same city recently experienced a similar crisis of confidence between doctors and public. On this occasion the cause was not cholera, but rather the reports from Alder Hey Children's Hospital that organ parts from deceased infants undergoing necropsy had been kept for several years without parental consent.