Sent Abroad For Incineration

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This morning.

Tonight on Prime Time, a special RTÉ Investigates report reveals an investigation is underway at one of the country’s largest hospitals after it was discovered multiple baby organs were sent abroad for incineration without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

Via RTE:

During the late 1990s hundreds of families were horrified to discover the organs of their deceased children were removed and retained by Irish hospitals following post-mortem without their knowledge or permission.

The public outcry led to the establishment of four separate inquiries, including the publication of the 2009 Willis report, an independent audit which found almost 21,500 organs of deceased patients had been retained at hospitals and universities across the State.

Almost 20 years later, in April 2019, Cork couple Leona Bermingham and Glenn Callanan were overjoyed to discover they were expecting twins. However, at their 16 week scan they were given some bad news, there was complications with one of the twins.

On the 18th Sept 2019 Leona and Glenn’s twin boys, Lee & Lewis, were delivered at 33 weeks by emergency c-section at Cork University Maternity Hospital. Hours later baby Lee sadly died. Because of the circumstances of baby Lee’s death, Leona & Glenn were encouraged to agree to a post-mortem.

In mid-May 2020, Leona received an unexpected call from Cork University Maternity Hospital to say that the organs that they retained belonging to Lee had been incinerated and they wouldn’t be able to get them back.

Six months after they received the phone call to tell them Lee’s organs had been incinerated, Cork University Maternity Hospital eventually arranged to meet with Leona and Glenn. They were horrified to be told it was baby Lee’s brain that they kept and that the brain was incinerated abroad in Antwerp in Belgium.

RTÉ Investigates report on Prime Time tonight at 9.35pm on RTÉ One

Investigation under way at Cork hospital after baby organs incinerated (RTÉ)

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9 thoughts on “Sent Abroad For Incineration

  1. Bebe

    When I heard this earlier I felt physically sick. In 2009 a Report was commissioned by the HSE and undertaken by Michaela Willis MBE which provided certain recommendations obviously completely ignored. I don’t buy the excuse of being overwhelmed by the pandemic – freeing up space in morgue for Covid19 remains – how much space are we talking about and how come the authorities did not notify the parents or next of kin – I will watch this like many others tonight, mindful of the practices that went on for decades, I’ve lost faith in humanity, I find this revolting, my heart goes out to those affected.

  2. Free Lunch

    Jebus H Cripes, but that was a tough programme to watch. Some of the mother’s statements just cut into me. Such callous behaviour by the hospital and some of the staff. And of course, blaming COVID and the HSE cyber attack as their way out. Front line liars.


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