A woman who lost her baby just hours after he was born, has spoken of the harrowing memories which have been brought back by an investigation into the storage of human organs at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Health chiefs have pledged to help Michelle Bailey, 39, find answers to questions she still has after she lost her baby boy - Joe Bailey - soon after he was born at the hospital in 1998.
Michelle, from Lawrence Avenue in South Shields, has been told samples taken after her son’s death do not form part of the current police investigation but she still has questions about his remains.
Northumbria Police have confirmed they are speaking to a total of 26 families involved in the investigation.
The tissue samples were discovered at the hospital, in Harton Lane, South Shields, during an audit in March 2015.
It is understood the samples were taken to the hospital by a pathologist who covered a large area of the North East over a number of years.
Police forces nationwide began carrying out audits in 2010 after it became apparent human tissue samples going back many years may have been retained. All cases pre-date 2006, when the Human Tissue Act 2004 came into force.
Michelle said her son Joe, was born at 37 weeks on October 26, 1998, but sadly died just 14 hours later.
He was cremated at South Shields crematorium and Michelle was told that the hospital had taken tissue samples.
Michelle - who was only 20 when she had her baby - said: “I was so young at the time. I kneoww they kept samples, but I didn’t actually know how much and if they still had them.
“I have a copy of the post mortem for my son which says they kept the samples, but I didn’t know what they kept or why they kept them.
“Since all this came out it has brough it all back.”
Following the ordeal, Michelle was left with just some treasured photos of her newborn son along with his hand and foot prints, a lock of his hair and hospital wristband. Dr Shaz Wahid, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s Medical Director, said Michelle is welcome to contact them directly to seek answers.
He said: “We sympathise with Miss Bailey on her tragic loss.
“When a baby dies, we always seek to fully support the parents’ wishes regarding the burial or cremation, however, it is the funeral director who makes the arrangements. “If she would like to contact us we will do all we can to check our records for relevant details.”