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Mother’s horror after she is told her baby’s brain was kept in a hospital jar for 13 YEARS
Julie Middleton, 40, buried her son Regan in 1999 but has now been told that doctors removed his brain during a post-mortem at the medical centre.
She said although she knew tissues had been removed to ascertain the cause of death – which was found to be cot death – she had no idea the entire organ had been removed.
Baby Regan’s brain was found in a jar at Southampton General Hospital
The organ was held in storage until it was
discovered during a national audit into remains kept by police.
Similar cases of organs being kept without the knowledge of their loved ones are likely to emerge as the audit continues. It could trigger another organ ‘harvesting’ scandal like the one at
Alder Hey hospital in 1999.
The mother-of-four, who lives in Poole, said she felt that the authorities had ‘stolen’ a piece of her baby.
She told the Southern Daily Echo: ‘I feel hurt and let down by people I thought I could trust at the worst time in my life. I trusted them with my son’s body and they returned it to me incomplete.’
A spokesman for Southampton General Hospital said Regan had not been a patient there and they had been asked to keep the organ at the request of the Home Office and Dorset police as part of a forensic case for the coroner.
‘We are asked to hold these specimens at the request of the police/coroner
until told what they want us to do,’ he said.
The brain will now be buried alongside Regan’s body although Ms Middleton and her former husband Michael Wilson said they would be too upset to attend.
‘It will be too painful,’ Ms Middleton told the Echo.
‘I thought I had said good-bye to Regan all those years ago. I can’t go through it again.’
Their other choices were to allow the brain to be kept for medical research or have the hospital ‘dispose’ of it.
But Ms Middleton said: ‘I wasn’t going to let them keep it.’
Dorset Police released a statement saying: ‘We are very aware of the sensitivities of
the families affected and are working closely with hospitals, pathologists
and coroner’s departments to complete the audit and inform families as
quickly as possible.
‘We know this is incredibly difficult for the family and friends of those
people whose tissue we have identified and we are providing all the support
we can to help them.’