son Andrew was 16 when he suffered severe head injuries in a moped
accident near his Brockworth home in 1988. He was recovering well
before contracting a fatal heart virus at Bristol's Frenchay Hospital.
for his family the heartbreak didn't end there. Three years ago
his bereaved mother made her horrifying discovery.
was not told her son's organs had been removed and stored
harrowing funeral followed, to bury the body parts the family were
never told had been removed.
Maureen is among 2140 families at the centre of a High Court battle
seeking redress from the NHS for removing their children's organs
without their consent.
she recalls how she found out - and the battle that followed.
read a newspaper article about a couple whose son had been
murdered and they found out that Frenchay Hospital was storing
1,400 brains that had supposedly been taken without permission.
I saw the dates it made me think "Could my son's be one of
them?'. I was horrified but I felt that for my son I had to make
inquiries, painful as it was.
received a letter telling me yes, they had taken my son's brain
and they were very sorry for all the upset this would cause
my family. Even worse, they no longer had it.
wouldn't tell me anything over the phone but I then I received a
letter telling me yes, they had taken my son's brain and they were
very sorry for all the upset this would cause my family.
worse, they no longer had it. I thought 'If they've taken that what
else could they have taken?' so I wrote again and asked if they
had taken anything else.
when they admitted they were holding 13 wax blocks with parts of
his heart, lungs, liver and spinal cord and 65 slides with tissues
was just absolutely awful finding that out. I felt as if I'd buried
a shell. It was a shock.
last time I saw my son was in the chapel of rest - I had to go and
see him because I just could not believe he was dead, even though
he had died in my arms, and at that stage he was whole.
feel as if the minute I left they whipped him away and butchered
is horrific - it gives me nightmares.
it sounds selfish but if I had been approached by the hospital I
don't think I would have wanted them to touch him, he'd been through
last time I saw my son was in the chapel of rest ... and at
that stage he was whole. I feel as if the minute I left they
whipped him away and butchered him.
brain and heart weren't suitable for transplant, and then to find
they hadn't even used his organs for medical research - it's so
might have helped me if I had known they had been used for that
purpose. It was very underhand that they didn't ask my permission
but not to use them for any purpose - that is 100 times worse."
admits that no amount of money will compensate her for the loss
of her beloved eldest son - so what does she hope the court case
don't want other people to go through what I went through. Hopefully
there will be a change in the law and we want an apology and for
them to accept that what they did was wrong.
hard enough losing a child without having to go through this
as well. I have been offered £1,000 compensation but it's
not about money - it's about getting an apology.
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