Relatives to learn truth about organ stripping

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Thousands of people are about to be told if their children or other relatives were secretly stripped of their vital organs when they died, the Government has announced.

Thousands of people are about to be told if their children or other relatives were secretly stripped of their vital organs when they died, the Government has announced.

More than 100 NHS trusts in England are getting the go-ahead to start telling people whether hearts, lungs and other organs had been stripped from dead relatives without their consent.

A moratorium had been imposed on trusts giving out the information in the wake of the damning Alder Hey inquiry into organ retention. The Alder Hey report found that children who had died at the Liverpool Hospital had been systematically stripped of their organs without their parents' knowledge or consent.

During the inquiry it also emerged that more than 100,000 hearts, lungs and other organs were still being held by hospitals around the country. An investigation by Chief Medical Officer Professor Liam Donaldson found that thousands of people may have buried their loved ones not knowing they had been stripped of many or all of their internal organs.

The findings, published earlier this year, sparked panic as people jammed hospital switchboards, trying to discover whether relatives who had died sometimes decades ago were among those whose organs had been retained. But poor record keeping meant that many hospitals had difficulty tracing organs.

And the Government was anxious to avoid a repeat of events at Alder Hey, where parents were often forced to go through multiple funerals for their dead children as more of their retained organs were discovered. The moratorium was imposed on all hospitals as a nationwide audit of retained organs was carried out.

A Retained Organs Commission was also set up to oversee the audit and review the whole issue. Chairwoman of the commission, Professor Margaret Brazier, was today giving selected hospitals the go-ahead to start giving information to people who have inquired about retained organs.

The move could see many more people demanding the return of vital organs and conducting second funerals for their loved ones.

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