I note from the news that once again South Tyneside District Hospital (STDH) has shown absolutely no regard for the people it allegedly serves in keeping various body parts of deceased patients without the knowledge – let alone the consent – of the bereaved relatives.
My father died in 1995 and some years later, in the wake of the Alder Hey fiasco, I received a letter from STDH to the effect that they had retained some brain tissue from my father without consent.
The letter went on to ask me what I wanted to do with it.
The truth is that I didn’t really know.
Clearly, we had held dad’s funeral; having, as we thought, cremated all of his remains.
What were we supposed to do? Hold another funeral service just for that tissue?
In the end I comforted myself in the knowledge that dad tried to help whenever and wherever he could, and therefore took the view that his decision would have been to let them keep the tissue in the hope that it could be used in research to help others.
I never replied to the STDH letter.
David W McKiernan.